President Bush Isn't the Only World Leader Down in the Polls

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Global Popularity Problem

President Bush's approval rating has reached a new low of 33 percent in the latest FOX News poll, but many of his counterparts in Europe are faring even worse.

The American Enterprise Institute notes that French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's favorable numbers are now 29 percent and 30 percent, respectively, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair has a 31 percent approval rating.

One European leader seemingly immune to the malaise? The new German Chancellor Angela Merkel – 69 percent of Germans say they approve of the work the conservative leader has done so far.

Compromising Position

Speaking of Merkel, German tabloids have come to her defense after a British paper snapped a candid photo of the chancellor baring her backside on an Italian beach. The Sun published the picture of the 51-year-old Merkel changing into her bathing suit over the headline "I'm Big in the Bumdestag" — a pun on the name of the German parliament.

The German tabloid Bild fired back, calling the Sun, "Rotten to the core," and adding, "we would never print pictures of your queen in support stockings." But Merkel herself has stayed above the fray.

A spokesman says the chancellor will not press charges against The Sun, saying the negative reaction of the German people over the photos is sufficient.

Prepare for the Worst

A vast majority of Americans say the U.S. should hope for peace with Iran, but prepare for war. The latest FOX News poll shows that 62 percent believe the administration should continue to push for a diplomatic solution to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but should also keep military options open in the meantime. Sixty-seven percent say that planning for a possible war in Iraq is a responsible step.

And while a plurality of Americans, 44 percent, say the U.S. could co-exist with Iran if it developed nuclear weapons, 47 percent believe the U.S. will eventually be forced to take military action.

Hurricane Hunger Strike

Janitors at the University of Miami are now in the 18th day of a hunger strike to demand a living wage and some big names are getting into the act. Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern joined students and community leaders in the fast today to protest what the janitors are calling civil rights abuses by university president and former Clinton official Donna Shalala, who they say has taken sides against the janitors in the wage dispute.

Five of the janitors have been taken to the hospital since the hunger strike began, including one who suffered a stroke during the fast.

— 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