And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

Al Ahead
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Al Gore surging into the lead over likely rivals for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. The former vice president grabbed nearly half the votes in a hypothetical Democratic primary. No other candidate received more than 10 percent of the support. But if he's thinking about reviving the Gore-Lieberman duo, he may want to think again. Fifty-four percent of Democrats surveyed said they would like to see a new ticket in 2004.

Adios to Aztecs!
San Diego State University will kick off this fall's football season down one man. University President Stephen Weber has called off the search for a replacement to "Monty Montezuma," the school's bare-chested, spear throwing former mascot. Weber has rejected "Eagle Warrior," a new mascot proposed by school officials, saying Aztec fans can't rally behind a winged figure wearing an eagle headdress. The school has been without a mascot since May 2001 following complaints by the Native American Student Alliance that Monty Montezuma was offensive.   

Operation Squeegee
And motorists — at least in the Great White North — ought to watch what they yell at squeegee men who assail their windshields. Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver are posing as window washers at major intersections in hopes of catching drivers who aren't wearing a seat belt. The covert traffic operation called "Operation Squeegee" was launched earlier this week with some impressive results. In a four-hour time period, officers issued a whopping 90 tickets. 

Dog-Gone Officials!
And finally, it's back to the doghouse for Percy. Florida State election officials have refused to let the 5-year-old border collie mix run as a rival to Secretary of State Katherine Harris in her bid for Congress. So now, her owner, Wayne Genthner, says he'll run himself as a write-in candidate. The 42-year-old boat captain says he's frustrated with highly financed, sterile campaigns that avoid meaningful debate — the sort of intercourse he evidently hoped his dog would supply. Percy and his campaign staff had distributing  flyers with slogans such as, "Never made a mess in the House! Never will!" and, "Percy! Putting the lick back into Republican."

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume