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Harvard Under Fire

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Who'll Be in the White House?

A new FOX poll on presidential politics holds good news for Republicans Rudy Giuliani and John McCain and both good news and bad for Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani and McCain lead the pack among registered Republicans with 29 percent and 22 percent respectively, with all other GOP challengers well back. Among Democrats, the poll shows Clinton with a huge lead over second place finisher Al Gore — who said again yesterday that he's not planning to run.

But in general election matchups, Senator Clinton runs well behind Giuliani and McCain — losing 51 percent to 39 percent against Giuliani and 50 percent to 39 percent against McCain. In fact, the New York Senator comes out on top only against Vice President Cheney, whose approval number in the most recent FOX News poll is 35 percent.

Harvard Scholarship

Harvard's Kennedy School of Government has come under fire for publishing a paper co-authored by the school's academic dean — alleging that a vast network of largely Jewish officials manipulated the U.S. into invading Iraq.

"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" alleges that a cabal of journalists, Christian evangelicals, think tanks and top-ranking administration officials have set a Jewish agenda for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

The research paper has been blasted by Kennedy School fellow Marvin Kalb and former Mideast Envoy Dennis Ross — named as part of the lobby — who tells The New York Sun that the paper displayed a "woeful lack of knowledge on the subject."

Bernanke Optimistic

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is upbeat about the state of the economy — saying today that he expects it to keep growing at a brisk pace.

This as a new report notes that lower energy costs helped push wholesale prices down by the largest amount in nearly three years and unemployment remains under 5 percent, with 243,000 jobs created last month. But despite the positive news, a new Gallup poll reveals that the public remains negative on the state of the economy.

Just 35 percent of Americans say the economy is excellent or good — and 61 percent think it's getting worse. Fifty-four percent of Republicans say the economy is improving, compared to just 15 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Speaking of Gallup, the polling organization is ending its 14-year relationship with CNN citing the network's declining viewership.

In a memo to employees last week, CEO Jim Clifton praised the past relationship with CNN, but said "it is not the right alignment for our future," adding, "CNN has far fewer viewers than it did in the past, and we feel that our brand was getting lost and diluted."

But CNN is calling the memo "unprofessional" and "in every respect untrue," saying Clifton told CNN he was ending the partnership because "the CNN brand was so dominant that Gallup wasn't getting the attention for the polls that they wanted."

— 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