Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Illinois State Rifle Association says President-elect Obama's transition team is weeding out job applicants who own firearms.
Cybercast News reports the questionnaire given to those seeking work in the Obama administration asks applicants if they or members of their family have ever owned a gun, and if so, who used it, and if it ever caused injury. The 63-question form also requires the gun registration information.
It is not clear whether gun ownership would disqualify an applicant, but the association's executive director Richard Pearson says, "The questionnaire poses a number of questions asking the applicant to reveal any unethical activities, or embarrassing Internet chats, then wraps up by asking if anyone in the applicant's family owns a firearm. Obviously, [President-elect] Obama feels that owning a firearm is akin to talking dirty in Internet chat rooms."
Poor Choice of Words
President-elect Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has apologized for disparaging remarks made by his father about Arabs.
Benjamin Emanuel spoke about his son to an Israeli newspaper last week, saying, "Obviously, he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
Rahm Emanuel called the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Thursday to apologize, saying "These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family."
The Obama campaign made inclusion a big part of its message, but an experiment by an Illinois eighth grader revealed some supporters find it tough to practice.
The Chicago Tribune reports 14-year-old Catherine Vogt wore a shirt that read "McCain Girl" to class and kept a log of how students and teachers reacted. She says students called her stupid and there were "a lot of comments about how I should be killed."
One student said she should be crucified, another said that her support of McCain meant she favored a skinhead plot to kill Mr. Obama. Even a teacher expressed surprise about her choice.
The following day Vogt wore an "Obama Girl" shirt. She was told her brain had returned and that she was no longer stupid.
Later her history teacher revealed the experiment to the class. Norma Cassin-Pountney told students, "Here you are, promoting this person — Obama — that believes we are all equal... and look what you've done."
"I think they got it," she said.
Putin Up a Fight
When French President Nicolas Sarkozy met last August with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in an attempt to broker a ceasefire in the Georgian conflict, Putin reportedly had some choice words for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.
The London Times reports Putin told Sarkozy "I am going to hang Saakashvili by" a sensitive part of his anatomy. Sarkozy reportedly responded, "Hang him?" and Putin said, "Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein." Sarkozy replied, "Yes but do you want to end up like President Bush?" Putin said, "Ah — you have scored a point there."
Putin denies the report, but Saakashvili, who was told about the exchange Thursday, said he thought it was funny.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.