Published May 11, 2006
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says the issues raised by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his 17-page letter to President Bush are "not irrelevant." Speaking in Seattle, Albright urged the United States to engage in direct talks with Iran, saying, "Rather than thinking it's a clash of civilizations, I think we are in a battle of ideas."
Some of the Iranian president's ideas as expressed in that letter include questioning the basis for the existence of Israel; suggesting that U.S. security services were behind 9/11; and saying that democracy has failed in the world.
A California newspaper is standing by a story accusing U.S. Border Patrol agents of tipping off the Mexican government about the locations of citizen groups policing the border despite a denial of sorts from the U.S. government.
The Customs and Border Protection Agency calls the story, "inaccurate," saying the agents merely report allegations of misconduct to the Mexican consulate in accordance with the Vienna Convention.
But Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reporter Sara Carter tells blogger Michelle Malkin that officials haven't asked her to retract the story and objected only to her failure to mention the agency's adherence to the convention. Carter says a Mexican government Web site lists information on the whereabouts of the Minuteman organization, which the site attributes to U.S. border agents and notes that a Border Patrol spokesman confirmed the details of her original story.
In a sign of new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow's more aggressive approach, the White House has issued three e-mails challenging mainstream media reporting on Medicare and the economy.
The White House singles out CBS News for what it calls a "misleading Medicare report" claiming that just eight million seniors have signed up for prescription drug coverage, when 37 million beneficiaries — or almost 90 percent of eligible seniors — are enrolled in the plan or have other sources of coverage.
The press office also takes issue with USA Today's reporting on the drug plan and accuses The New York Times of reporting that fixed costs are "rapidly outpacing" paychecks and benefits, while ignoring positive news on America's economic progress.
Praising the President
Senator Hillary Clinton is praising President Bush, who she says took care of New York after 9/11. The New York Democrat says, "He made sure we got the resources that we needed and I'm very grateful to him for that ... I am very appreciative in the time when the people I represented needed his help, he was there for us."
Clinton also praised the president's personality, saying, "He is someone who has a lot of charm and charisma," adding, "he's been very willing to talk. He's been affable. He's been good company."
—Fox News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.