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'War on Terrorism' Phrase Is Now Off Limits

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Banning "War on Terrorism"

Democrats in control of the House Armed Services Committee have banished the use of the term "global war on terrorism" from the text of the 2008 defense authorization bill. A memo from the committee's staff director bans the phrase — which it calls a "colloquialism" — along with the term "long war."

A Democratic aide tells the newspaper Military Times there was no political intent in the directive — that the committee was simply trying to avoid catch phrases and make the budget more specific about military operations.

2004 Ticket

The struggling presidential campaign of John McCain is now involved in a controversy with John Kerry over who approached whom about a possible McCain spot on the Democratic ticket in 2004.

The Politico newspaper reports Kerry maintains McCain's people made overtures to him about a vice presidential nod. But McCain says it was Kerry's idea — and that he rejected it each time it was raised.

This follows a similar story last week in which Senate Democrats said McCain was in serious negotiations with them about switching parties following his loss to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential primaries.

McCain says that also is a mischaracterization — and that he was never serious about leaving the Republican party.

Sympathetic Reaction

The outpouring of sympathy for John and Elizabeth Edwards following news her cancer has returned has benefited Edwards' presidential campaign in more ways that just a bump in the polls. It has also swelled the campaign's list of potential financial contributors.

The Washington Post reports that well-wishers who sent notes to the Edwards' via their Web site were added to the campaign's e-mail data base and promptly sent solicitations for money.

Fair and Balanced?

And HBO is promising a fair and balanced treatment of the 2000 presidential election in its upcoming film called "Recount."

But The Hill newspaper points out that almost everyone associated with the movie has been a Democratic party supporter and financial contributor — from the president of HBO films to the executive producer, the director and the writer, who says he has done detailed research and conducted many interviews with those involved.

But one Republican operative who was in the middle of the recount says he knows of no Florida Republican who was interviewed by the writer.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill 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