Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Significance of Zarqawi's Death in the Long Run?
A majority of Americans believe the U.S. is safer after the death of Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. But even more — 59 percent — say Zarqawi's death will make no difference in Iraq in the long run.
The latest FOX News poll shows that while 31 percent call Zarqawi's death a major victory in the war on terror, 20 percent say it's not a victory at all. Twenty-nine percent say the Bush administration deserves a lot of credit for killing the terrorist, but 37 percent believe it deserves little or no credit. And while 41 percent say the attack gives them more confidence in the administration's handling of Iraq –19 percent say they're now less confident.
Senate Democrats came out firing after reports that the Iraqi government would consider granting amnesty to insurgents who attacked U.S. troops. Democratic Leader Harry Reid called on the president to force Iraq to withdraw the plan. Carl Levin called it "unthinkable" and "unacceptable," and Chuck Schumer said the proposal "makes us think we don't have a real policy in Iraq."
But all three criticized the decision to disband the Iraqi army after the U.S. invasion, arguing that the coalition should have kept those soldiers who'd shot at Americans on active duty.
In 2003, Levin called it a "major mistake" to disband the army arguing that the coalition should reinstate mid-level officers and those below them.
Capitol Cash Flow
A congressional watchdog group has raised questions about whether House Speaker Dennis Hastert improperly benefited from his office in a real estate deal that netted the Illinois Republican nearly $2 million last year.
The Sunlight Foundation suggests that Hastert's $200 million budget earmark for a new highway near his property helped inflate his profits from the sale of that land in December. But Hastert's spokesman tells FOX News that the land in question is more than 5 miles away from the proposed highway and the area's economic development corporation says Hastert's windfall is more likely due to explosive real estate growth in the region — which was underway long before the highway deal was completed.
Out of Sight
One of California's most famous Democrats says his party may have to keep its gubernatorial candidate out of the public eye if he is to have any hope of unseating Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown called nominee Phil Angelides, "a smart guy," but says, "he doesn't look good on TV and doesn't sound good on radio," adding, "They need to keep him in places like Dinuba and Chico, where no one can see or hear him."
As for Angelides' opponent, Brown says, "he's the best in the business when he gets out around regular people and just sells himself as Arnold."
—FOX News Channel's 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.