Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Not everyone on the left is pleased with President Obama's first weeks in office. MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow complained Friday, "Change we can believe in, as long as we pay attention to the disappointing asterisk on the word 'change.'"
Maddow blasted Mr. Obama for having former lobbyists in his administration — saying that went against a campaign promise that "sounded great; felt great, too great to be entirely true, as it turns out."
Liberal bloggers are upset too. Over at Agonist.org, Stirling Newberry voices his displeasure with the president's handling of the stimulus package.
"Liberals have to get bupkus before Obama gets a single Republican vote. If liberals were smart, they would draw the line here and tell President Obama that if he makes more concessions they walk, and he gets nothing from them and will have to govern as a Republican from here on in… Obama isn't a Democrat giving things up to get Republican votes, he's a conservative mugging liberals for a conservative agenda."
Texas Republican Congressman John Carter says he wants everyone to get the same treatment when it comes to taxes. He has introduced what he's calling the "Rangel Rule."
"Under the bill, any U.S. citizen who owes back taxes can pay them and automatically waive all interest and penalties by writing 'Rangel Rule' on their return."
Rangel is Congressman Charles Rangel — the Democratic House Ways and Means Committee chairman — who admitted he failed to pay taxes on rental income for years. He has apologized and agreed to pay back taxes. But Carter says Rangel hasn't paid interest or penalties.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has also apologized for what he calls his tax "oversight", but also paid no penalties. The same goes for Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle — whom we told you about earlier.
Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus has taken aim at climate change campaigner Al Gore. The French Press Agency reports that Klaus said during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, "I'm very sorry that some people like Al Gore are not ready to listen to the competing theories. I do listen to them. Environmentalism and the global warming alarmism is challenging our freedom. Al Gore is an important person in this movement."
Gotta Get Away
And finally, House Republicans spent the weekend about four hours outside Washington at their annual retreat.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was invited to attend, but retreat organizers tell ABC News the former VP nominee politely declined because she told them pressing state business made it impossible for her to leave Alaska. However, as we told you last Thursday, Palin did leave Alaska to come to Washington for political dinners Friday and Saturday night.
"She lied to us," said a Republican at the retreat. Palin's spokesman says she hadn't scheduled any partisan events for her weekend trip. When asked about Palin’s absence, House Minority Leader John Boehner shrugged and replied, "Whatever."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier.