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Is the Energy Secretary In Over His Head?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Oil and Water

Energy Secretary Steven Chu says he feels, "like I've been dumped into the deep end of the pool," in confronting questions about oil policy.

The Wall Street Journal reports Chu says he doesn't know what the Obama administration wants the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, to do at its meeting next month.

He says: "I'm not the administration. I will be speaking and learning more about this in order to figure out what the U.S. position should be and what the president's position is."

A day earlier, the Nobel Laureate in physics declined to offer an opinion on whether OPEC should cut production, saying the issue was, "not in my domain."

He later said his response reflected, "more of my naiveté than anything else."

Bye, American

Most of the men and women President Obama has picked to help fix the American automobile industry do not even drive American cars. The Detroit News reports that only two of the 18 people named so far as members and aides to the task force own U.S.-made vehicles.

The co-chairmen Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers both own foreign automobiles. So does Management and Budget Office Director Peter Orszag. And at least two task force members don't own a car.

Check Is in the Mail

The story we brought you in last week's Grapevine, revealing that Postmaster General John Potter has received a nearly 40 percent pay raise since 2006 has gotten a lot of attention.

The Washington Times reports Congress will hold a hearing next month into why Potter's salary has ballooned even as the postal service faces a multi-billion dollar shortfall that threatens a day of mail delivery. Rep. Stephen Lynch, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the postal service says, "I think most postal customers feel that the huge increase in pay for Mr. Potter is incongruent with the post office's recent performance."

Hold the Ice

And finally, a glitch in satellite sensors has caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles. That's a chunk of ice about the size of California. The National Snow and Ice Data Center says the error was due to a problem called "sensor drift" and lasted from early January to the middle of this month.

The extent of Arctic sea ice is seen as a key measure of how rising temperatures are affecting the planet. The center says on its Web site: "Although we believe that data prior to early January are reliable, we will conduct a full quality check."

It maintains that the recent error does not change findings that Arctic ice is retreating.

— 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