Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton (search) Monday accused what she called "dictatorship of the Republican leadership" of manipulating facts and smearing Democrats (search) to gain political advantage.

Speaking in Manhattan at her first major re-election fund-raiser, Clinton said, "There has never been an administration ... more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda. ... it's frustrating for me: Why can't the Democrats do more to stop them? I can tell you this: It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. ... It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

Clinton cited no specifics of fact manipulation.

Newsweek's New Issue

Newsweek magazine, still reeling from that now-retracted story on alleged Koran desecration by U.S. forces, has now published a diatribe attacking U.S. efforts in Iraq. In the latest issue, outgoing Baghdad bureau chief Rod Nordland (search) says, "the liberation of Iraq has become a desperate exercise in damage control," adding, "Living and working in Iraq, it's hard not to succumb to despair."

He says, "The most powerful army in human history can't even protect a two-mile stretch of road" leading to Baghdad's airport, concluding, "The question isn't when will we leave, but 'how bad of a mess can we afford to leave behind?'"

Dan In Denver

Dan Rather (search) may have hurt his credibility among CBS executives and his audience with that discredited report on President Bush's National Guard service, but apparently not among colleagues of investigative journalism. Speaking at the annual conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors in Denver over the weekend, Rather acknowledged that his defense of the report was improper.

But, as The Denver Post describes, he left the room "surrounded by star-struck, snapshot-taking reporters, [as] others in the ballroom ... said they were impressed by his candor." NPR correspondent Daniel Zwerdling said, "We all make mistakes. ... The question is, do we acknowledge them and learn from them? He has."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report

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