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I am curious what you think about Gov. George Pataki of N.Y. opening a campaign office in the state of Iowa. (See the article below.) It certainly is a strong sign the race for the White House '08 is on. Others will follow suit in no time, I suspect. I happen to like it when there are many candidates. I like to hear the different ideas to address the many national and international problems... and I like choice. Starting early gives us — voters — the chance to get a really good look at the candidates. What is unfortunate is that in many ways the race is not an election about ideas and leadership but rather a contest as to who can raise the most money. The negative ads will come pouring out as soon as the election day gets near and we all say we — voters — hate them. Yet studies show the negative ads work. Any ideas why we the voters seem to embrace the negative ads? E-mail me with that answer.

If you travel a lot — I do — you are happy with the loosening of the carry-on rules on airplanes. I have had to buy so many tubes of toothpaste since August 10 because so many tubes have been confiscated at security causing me to have to buy several tubes.

I know, I should not have had toothpaste in my bag since August 10, but I always forget. We move from place to place — often by car — so tubes of toothpaste are often in my bags. I must admit I feel like I look like I am a terrorist as I stand at airport security with the TSA going through my things and actually finding something even if it is toothpaste. It has been contraband and not permitted, so naturally I feel a bit guilty when a tube is spotted. There is something about standing there with your bags open and a TSA rep holding up your toothpaste and looking at you. You can't help but feel like a bad person... or at least I can't.

Speaking of bad, my husband and I are thinking of installing a nanny cam in a few rooms of our house to figure out which pet of ours is terrorizing us nightly. One of our dogs (both look guilty) is stealing things from the kitchen counter (spatula, napkins, pot holders, pots and pans, food, pens, fruit, loaves of bread, etc.) and taking the items out through the dog door and spreading them all over. You have no idea the items stolen from the inside of our house only to be found out in the yard! We have to go out looking for things all the time. Imagine making breakfast in the morning and having to go out in the yard to find a pot holder to avoid burning one's hands! It is pathetic.

Plus, someone (we assume it is one of the dogs) is shredding all our mail that comes in through the mail slot. When we come home at night we have paper all over the living room and we have to try and figure out from the paper pieces on the floor what the mail is that we got.

We have asked the postal carriers to use the mailbox and not the mail slot in our door to avoid this problem but for some reason they prefer the mail slot in our door.

As an aside, our dogs are very docile and very sweet and neither has ever misbehaved in front of us. This is all done on the sly when we are out of the house. We are more suspicious of the younger German shep since when she spots us looking stupid walking around picking up all the shredded paper on our living room floor each night, she lowers her head and quietly goes for her dog door and outside. On the other hand, the older one is much smarter and might be setting up the younger one, hence the need for the nanny cam.

Here is some more behind the scenes: Ted Williams' daughter is interning for a short time here in the Washington, D.C., bureau.

To all those who e-mailed me that you like better the pic of me we are now posting on www.gretawire.com, I agree. The other one made me look like the Pillsbury Doughboy. It was pretty bad but I really did not care and let it go for all this time. I sort of thought it was funny. (And, yes, I have seen even worse pics of me!)

Now for some e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

FOX News must recognize the FOX Clinton set them up!!! He got sympathy (and votes) from his base, and he has half the country and all the "liberal" channels reporting negatively about FOX. Now put out the word how WISE that "LIBERAL FOX" is and admit he outdid you and the right wing. I am a devout conservative Republican, but I recognize a good lickin' and we just got one!!
Don Petty
Dallas, TX

E-mail No. 2

Hi Greta!
I have two questions for you... the first being what is the difference between a prosecuting attorney and a district attorney?
Second, I made a shirt for Beth Twitty and I'd like to send it to her, but I don't have her address. Do you? I can e-mail you a picture of the shirt so you know I'm not a stalker or anything weird. Thanks a bunch. :)
Chiari Lattanzi
Towson, MD

ANSWER: DA and prosecuting attorney are the same thing. And as for Beth's address, I don't have it. I only have her cell phone number.

E-mail No. 3

Dear Ms. Van Susteren,
Thank you so much for having the expert on the E. coli 0157 spinach outbreak on your program Friday evening. In closing, he mentioned the fact that the problem is coming from dairy upstream. E coli 0157 can only come from dairy (bovine). Please keep investigating this outbreak as we feel the blame needs to be put squarely on the shoulders of the source of the problem, which is more than likely the dairy CAFOs operating in Salinas Valley.
We are family farmers in northwest Ohio and we are fighting a losing battle trying to keep dairy CAFOs out of our area. We are a densely populated area and the danger these CAFOs will cause to our water supply scares us to death. Our elected officials refuse to put a moratorium on CAFOs saying they post no danger to our health.
Please, please continue to investigate this spinach E. coli outbreak and get to the source of the problem.
Thank you for the excellent programming you provide.
Dolores

E-mail No. 4

Hello Greta,
As always, good subject matters. I was just told by several friends living here from Israel not to buy "knock off" purses/items no matter what — especially out of N.Y. Reason being is because the money is being channeled thru sources supporting bin Laden. I was told that this is a well-known fact. I have never heard of that, nor has anyone else made me aware of it. Maybe it's because they served in the Israel army that it's more of a known fact. Know about this? I'm amazed! No need to answer me. You have always been good enough to send back a line or two if it caught your interest.
Thank you, Greta.
Olivia Stafford

E-mail No. 5

Greta,
Why didn't you ask Larry Birkhead if he had taken a paternity test? Did he refuse to come on your show if you had asked the only question that "matters"? You seem to be losing all journalistic integrity.
Michael Estes
San Antonio, TX

ANSWER: He needs the child's DNA or blood to prove paternity. His biological sample alone is not enough. He must get Anna Nicole Smith in court to do this and perhaps staying in the Bahamas puts her beyond his legal reach, unless he goes to court in the Bahamas.

E-mail No. 6

Does he not know it is 2006? All the nice stuff he talks about is over. Women's rights you know. He could be a lover, a stud, a husband, or just a toy. Deliver, abort, put it up for adoption, marry another man, whatever. It's Nicole's rights to choose.
Walter Burson
Brewster, OH

Articles that caught my attention:

Governor Pataki Opens Iowa Campaign Office

U.S. deports man linked to soldier slayings in Northern Ireland

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