Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Facing the Music
One of the candidates vying for the Republican National Committee chairmanship is in hot water after sending a Christmas greeting to committee members along with a CD that included a song called, "Barack the Magic Negro."
The Hill newspaper reports the album, called We Hate the USA, is the brainchild of Paul Shanklin of "The Rush Limbaugh Show" and was first played on the show in 2007. It pokes fun at liberals with songs like "John Edwards Poverty Tour"; "Wright Place, Wrong Pastor"; "Love Client Number 9" — a reference to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer — and "The Star Spanglish Banner."
RNC Chairman Mike Duncan condemned Saltsman's actions saying, "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."
And one of Saltsman's rivals, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Micheal Steele — who is African-American — says the "attempt at humor was clearly misplaced."
Caroline Kennedy is trying to make the delicate transition from an intensely private life to public service. She is actively lobbying to replace Senator Hillary Clinton, who is slated to become secretary of state. So Kennedy gave a series of interviews Saturday, but at times appeared uncomfortable and even agitated.
The New York Daily News reports she "rarely made eye contact. Her speech was often punctuated with extra 'you knows' and 'ums.'" And The New York Times' transcript reveals she said "you know" a total of 138 times... and at one point 12 times in less than a minute.
She also got testy when The Times' reporters questioned her about the moment she decided she wanted to be a senator. She turned to them and said, "Have you guys ever thought about writing for, like, a woman's magazine or something?"
When asked what she had against women's magazines she responded: "Nothing at all, but I thought you were the crack political team here."
The CIA has found a new tool in the War on Terror after it encountered a problem in rewarding those who help in the fight against terrorists in Afghanistan. The CIA had been giving cash and weapons to those who helped, but that was causing problems.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to The Washington Post, one agent said, "If you give an asset $1,000, he'll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money" — which sometimes got them killed.
So the CIA did something — well, less obvious: It gave tribal elders Viagra. The Post quotes one agent who says, "Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people — whether it's building a school or handing out Viagra."
Officials say Viagra is not given to younger leaders, but aging village patriarchs are easily sold on a pill that can "put them back in an authoritative position."
Center of Attention
Big Three auto executives had to give up their private aircraft to get the government to provide a $17 billion federal loan. But executives at the UAW — the autoworkers union — have not given up one of their expensive perks: a $33 million lakeside retreat.
The Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center in Onaway, Michigan includes a $6.4 million designer golf course.
The retreat is one of the union's biggest fixed assets and has lost a whopping $23 million over the past five years — forcing heavy loans to keep the center afloat. Some critics are crying foul. Justin Wilson of the Center for Union Facts -- a union watchdog group -- says, "The union has bigger issues at hand than managing a golf course... investments are supposed to make money, not bleed money."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.