Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
John McCain's presidential campaign was so strapped for cash last November that he offered his fundraising lists as collateral for a $3 million dollar line of credit — and took out a special life insurance policy to seal the deal.
The Washington Post reports the policy was necessary to ensure the continued value of the fund-raising lists — which would not maintain their worth if he were not alive.
McCain's Internet fundraising consultant says — "I can't imagine any other campaign doing what he did. We were down to nobody. To nothing."
And one campaign finance expert says — "It was a big gamble, but I think one of the most important strategic moves the McCain campaign has made."
McCain used the money to concentrate on the New Hampshire primary — which he won. Now the campaign is said to be back on solid financial ground.
As Seen on TV
Speaking of money — presidential candidates have coughed up $107 million for TV ads so far this political season.
A University of Wisconsin study indicates Mitt Romney tops the list at $29 million, with McCain at $8 million.
Barack Obama has dropped $22.7 million. Hillary Clinton $18.7 million.
The most consistent image in the ads is the American flag —which appeared in 77 percent of McCain's spots — and 44 percent of Romney's.
Obama had the flag in 40 percent of his. Clinton had a flag in 33 percent.
Rudy Giuliani spent $5.5 million on TV ads and a total of $49 million overall — and what did he get for that investment? Just one delegate.
That's a new record for futility — topping the late John Connally — who spent $11 million for just one delegate in 1980.
Hit in the Wallet
Reaction has been swift and strong to the decision we told you about Thursday by the city of Berkeley, California — to declare Marine Corps recruiters "uninvited and unwelcome guests."
Republican Senator Jim Demint is drafting legislation to strip Berkeley of all its federal earmarks in the current budget — about $2 million worth.
Demint says — "The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money."
An official in the office of Marine Commandant General James Conway says there are no plans to move the recruiting office out of Berkeley.
Jesse Jackson is coming to the defense of two white major league baseball umpires from Kentucky — Sam Holbrook and Greg Gibson — after investigators asked their neighbors whether the men were in the Ku Klux Klan.
Baseball is stepping up background checks on its umpires, following news that a professional basketball referee bet on games.
Jackson says — "Major League Baseball has done a disservice to its progressive social history by equating southern whites with white supremacists."
Its "…false impersonations of friendships and ill-contrived questions further press sensitive racial stereotypes, with no basis for suspicion. They have essentially defamed their people in their own neighborhoods."
A baseball spokesman denies any inappropriate conduct by the investigators.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.