And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

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Winning Friends the World Over
Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee made quite an impression in Houston social circles this week at a posh dinner hosted by Queen Sirikit of Thailand. The Houston Chronicle reports Ms. Jackson Lee showed up an hour late to the black-tie affair, forcing dinner organizers first to fill Jackson's empty seat at the queen's table and then unfill it, so Lee could take her place. As a consequence, the wife of Thailand's Lord Chamberlain, after sipping her soup, had to get up and move. In addition, Lee prodded the Queen to rise and pose for a picture -- a definite protocol no-no -- and also showed up not in formal attire, but in business clothing. An unapologetic Jackson Lee told the Washington Post, "It was a wonderful evening and had a joyous tone to it, and I never received any message of complaint from anyone." She said she had warned organizers that she would be late because of a long-scheduled meeting with constituents and that she would arrive in more casual garb because, "If I'd changed clothes, I would have been three hours late."     

Not Exactly a Kiss and Tell
Arizona Sen. John McCain and President Bush haven't quite kissed and made up after their heated rivalry on the 2000 campaign trail. So says author Paul Alexander. In a new biography on McCain, "Man of the people," he quotes Sen. Thad Cochran's description of an encounter last year between the president and the senator. “I happened to be seated by John McCain. The president was sort of working the crowd after his speech. He got to me, looked at me, shook hands with me, and didn't even look at John, who was standing right there beside me. He had to see him. I glanced, out of the corner of my eye, after the president turned away, John was looking straight ahead. He would not look at the president."      

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Finally, how's this for a dysfunctional family feud? Connecticut State Rep. Dennis Cleary now finds his family united in support -- of his rival. They've put his opponent's signs on their lawns and they've taken out a newspaper ad urging Cleary's ouster. Quote: "We're tired of Dennis...Are you?" Cleary, a Republican, is seeking a seventh term, but his brother says the family believes Dennis is "corrupt and self-serving." The falling out stems from Dennis Cleary's handling of his father's estate. He dismisses the feud, noting that families have suffered through sibling rivalries since Cain and Abel. He didn't note what happened eventually to Abel.

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