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Dr. Henry Foster's chances of becoming the next surgeon generalplummeted when Senate supporters today failed, 57 to 43, to muster the 60 votes needed to block a threatened filibuster and bring his nomination to a vote. The Tennessee physician has the 51 votes he needs for confirmation, but the nomination is foundering under a scenario thatMajority Leader Bob Doleset in motion Tuesday. Dole, taking advantage of a filibuster threat byGOP presidential rival Phil Gramm, scheduled a vote to end debate on Foster after three hours today. "It's brilliant," says TIME's Karen Tumulty. "He's won on both counts: it looks like he was fair in bringing this to a vote, and he's engineered it so there's no chance Foster can succeed." Knowing the doctor would likely fall short, Dole is allowing supporters a scant 24 hours to regroup before a second and final vote Thursday. Overnight, Tumulty reports, Democratic lobbying will target four Republican senators, three of whom must change their minds if the Senate is to reach a decision on Foster: John Warner of Virginia, Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Ted Stevens of Alaska and Mark Hatfield of Oregon. None, she says, is expected to budge.