Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

In her address Wednesday night, Louisiana Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco (search) said, “…in order to rebuild this state, ALL levels of government must work together, as never before, with one purpose — the well-being of our people." Then she said, "I have asked the federal government to cover 100 percent of what Louisiana will spend on this disaster."

As for the subsequent contracts for rebuilding, will they go to the lowest bidder? Not necessarily. Blanco said she told the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give top priority to Louisiana companies.

Americans Strikingly Optimistic

Americans may be upset by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and down on their president, but they are strikingly optimistic about the long-term outcome, according to a new Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll out Thursday.

In the poll, 61 percent say Katrina will make the country stronger. Seventy-one percent say Americans are pulling together more than they have for previous disasters. And 56 percent say New Orleans will be better than it was. Seventy-three percent, by the way, say they have personally donated money since the hurricane.

Not a Bush Buddy?

Rhode Island's Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee (search) didn't vote for President Bush last year and he has fought against much of the President's agenda from the war in Iraq to tax cuts. So, now that a conservative Republican — Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Stephen Laffey (search) — is challenging Chafee in next year's primary, who is the White House backing? Chafee.

Rhode Island is a largely Democratic state, and The Washington Times reports the White House thinks Chafee is its best shot at holding onto the seat. A new poll by Brown University shows Chafee leading Laffey by 20 points among Republican voters. And, in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up, Chafee leads the Democratic front-runner by 16 points among all voters.

A Report On Looting After Withdrawal

The BBC, which has been ceaselessly criticized by Israelis for what they see as biased coverage, carried a report on the looting and violence that followed Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip earlier this week. In the report, BBC Middle East correspondent Orla Guerin (search) called the chaos a "moment of freedom" for Palestinians, insisting, "Israel stole 38 years from them. Today, many were ready to take back anything they could."

— 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