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House may follow Senate on accounting bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The latest from the political grapevine, compiled by CNN Political Unit staff.

CNN's Bob Novak is hearing that House Republicans are ready to throw in the towel on the question of penalties on the accounting scandals bill. "They want to do whatever the Senate wants because they don't want to appear soft on crime. But, they have a very poor hand to play in this," Novak says. The issue will be fought out next week. Novak says there may be a total House capitulation to the much tougher Senate bill, and the president will sign it.

Novak notes that Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, referred to OMB Director Mitch Daniels as "Little Caesar" a while back. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, was on the other side of the Capitol when he heard it and he thought they were talking about the president," Novak says. "But he eased up when he realized it was Daniels they were talking about." Novak recently learned that Lott sent three Little Caesars pizzas to Daniels trying to make light out of the nasty affair.

If anyone was considered a cinch to be elected to the House, it was South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow, Novak says. "Believe it or not, my information is that Janklow is now trailing in the polls. His Democratic opponent is the granddaughter of a former governor. So this is a real blow to Republicans. It's not a good omen for the GOP," Novak says.




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