Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The CIA says they've concluded that the voice on Thursday's terror tape is indeed that of Usama bin Laden, but hours after that confirmation, the FBI told FOX it's still not sure. Spokesman John Miller said the tape was probably made in December, but that the bureau was still working on the authentication process.
This on a day when FBI director Robert Mueller touted the bureau's improved cooperation with the CIA.
A Terrorist... Or Is He?
Meanwhile, most news organizations would feel comfortable calling bin Laden a terrorist, but in a photo caption accompanying its bin Laden story, the Associated Press describes the Al Qaeda chief as an "exiled Saudi dissident."
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid held a conference call for Web loggers this week and proudly related how he's working to quash bipartisanship in the debate on lobbying reform. One participating blogger — Steve Clemons at The Washington Note — reports that Reid described how he put down an unnamed Senate Democrat who came to him with a bi-partisan proposal on "ethics reform."
Reid told the senator that this was the wrong time to be engaged in constructive "reform" proposals with the other side, saying, "This was the time to draw a line and to show how 'our side' differed dramatically from 'their side.'" Reid's staff says the senator merely wants to deny Republicans a "duck and cover" strategy to escape responsibility for the Abramoff scandal.
Lawyers defending five local Democratic activists from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, against charges that the men slashed the tires of 25 Republican vehicles before last year's presidential election say their clients are taking the fall for professional political operatives who they say were leading a nationwide dirty tricks campaign to defeat President Bush.
National party organizers first denied any knowledge of the event, then pinned the blame for the crime on five young volunteers. But defense attorneys say the imported operatives were the real culprits and blamed the locals to save their political careers. The Democratic Party denies there was a conspiracy and even Wisconsin's GOP chairman tells the Chicago Tribune that the theory "doesn't add up."
Signs of Life
Doctors were preparing to take 11-year-old Haleigh Poutre off life support less than 24 hours after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the state could let her die — when the brain damaged girl suddenly showed signs of emerging from what her doctors had called a "hopeless" vegetative state.
Haleigh, who was burned and nearly beaten to death by her stepfather, began responding to stimuli and breathing on her own for the first time in four months. Still, the Department of Social Services defended their fight to take Haleigh off life support, saying the decision was based on the "best diagnosis that we thought we had at the time."
— 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.