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Goldfish Gulping Gone

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Changing Their Tunes?

Many of the same senators and activists who are calling Harriet Miers (search) an undeserving victim of the extreme right wing did not support her nomination either. Liberal lobbyist Ralph Neas (search) said today that “Ultraconservatives... pounded their own president's nominee into submission." But earlier Neas complained that the Miers selection "raises serious questions about whether [the president] has found a nominee who has the requisite qualifications and independence."

New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (search) said Thursday that the "very extreme wing of the president's party" brought Miers down, but earlier this week Schumer said Miers "would not get a majority either in the Judiciary Committee or on the floor."

And Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (search) lamented that Miers was "not heard because of the heavy decibel level against her," but he'd joined the chorus last week when he claimed Miers needed a "crash course on constitutional law."

Slipping Support

Meanwhile, a FOX News Poll taken before Miers withdrew shows that she'd failed to gain traction with the American people. Thirty-five percent of those polled said they would vote to confirm Miers to the Supreme Court, compared with 38 percent who would vote against her. What's more, the poll suggests people think the press may be partly to blame for the Miers nomination's failure. Just 34 percent said the press has treated Miers fairly. Forty percent said it had not.

Presidential Business

President Bush was a busy man Wednesday conferring with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, giving a speech on the economy and meeting with the president of Ghana (search) and the prime minister of Macedonia (search).

But here's how the New York Times interpreted the President's full plate: "In an apparent effort to draw attention away from the [CIA leak] investigation — or at least to occupy himself as he and everyone else in the White House endured the torture of another day's wait — Mr. Bush kept to a busy schedule of meetings and appearances."

PETA Protest

Finally, it's been a good week for goldfish. The First Assembly of God Church in Florence, Alabama, has agreed to stop swallowing live goldfish as part of its "Fear Factor" ministry, aimed at teenagers after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (search) asked them to discontinue the practice.

And in Rome, Italy, the city council has banned goldfish bowls at the request of animal activists who say the bowls provide insufficient oxygen and can cause fish to go blind. Said the city council member who sponsored the measure: "The civilization of a city can also be measured" by how it treats its pets.

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns 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