Questioning Murtha's Service?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Clinton Controversy

New York Senator Hillary Clinton is standing by her Martin Luther King Day description of the U.S. House of Representatives as a "Plantation." Speaking at a black church, Clinton said Monday the House "has been run like a plantation... so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the comparison was "out of line," and First Lady Laura Bush called the remarks "ridiculous." Clinton now says, "I've said that before and I think it is an accurate description of the kind of top down way that the House of Representatives is run."

Chocolate City?

Meanwhile, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has apologized for his prediction that the city would be "chocolate" once more because "God wants it to be. "Nagin also said this year's savage hurricane season was a sign that "God was mad at America."

The mayor now says, "I said some things that were totally inappropriate... it shouldn't have happened."

‘Misleading’ Predictions?

Former Carter National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says the Bush administration's "misleading" claims that withdrawing from Iraq would destabilize the Middle East "...recall the apocalyptic predictions made earlier regarding the consequences of America's failure to win in Vietnam: dominoes falling, the region exploding and U.S. power discredited." But it turns out one of those "apocalyptic" predictions was made by Brzezinski himself.

In a 1964 op-ed, Brzezinski argued that withdrawal from Vietnam would be "an American defeat," writing under the heading "A Row of Dominoes" that the loss of South Vietnam could "result in a new wave of extremism."

Spreading the News

A story from an obscure conservative news Web site casting doubt on Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha's war decorations attracted scant notice from the mainstream media when it was published last week, but it has attracted plenty of attention from Murtha's defenders, and plenty of coverage as a result.

Murtha, a decorated veteran, has called for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq. But Cybercast News Service questioned whether Murtha deserved the two purple hearts and bronze star he earned in Vietnam, and urged him to open his military records. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne calls the article an example of the "viciousness" and "unblushing hypocrisy of the right wing."

And House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the "Swift Boat-like attacks on an American hero, Congressman Jack Murtha, are despicable and have no place in politics."

— 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