Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
I Have My Reasons
Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha says that if he is guilty of any political misdeeds, there is good reason for it. Murtha tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "If I'm corrupt, it's because I take care of my district. My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary."
No one knows exactly how much money Murtha has poured into his district during his 35-year career. Estimates run into the billions of dollars. The report says most of that was lobbied from federal agencies, won through open bidding, or controversially steered by Murtha directly into his district.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has branded Murtha as, "one of the most corrupt members of Congress."
Slow Off the Mark
Some gay rights activists are frustrated at the Obama administration for not moving fast enough to overturn the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on "FOX News Sunday" that there are more pressing matters for he and the president to address. Aubrey Sarvis, the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, says: "Secretary Gates hardly gave a sound reason for kicking 'don't ask, don't tell' down the road — or essentially back tracking on a campaign promise made by his commander in chief. I trust the secretary was not speaking for President Obama, who hopefully will issue the call for repeal when he sends his Defense Department budget to Congress in a few weeks."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says the ban will be overturned, but has not said when. But a report released in August 2008 by the Center for Military Readiness says that could cause "unprecedented harm to discipline, morale, recruiting and readiness... this would be tantamount to forcing female soldiers to cohabit with men at all times."
And Newsweek magazine contributing editor Kenneth Woodward wrote an opinion-editorial for the Washington Post Monday explaining, "why Notre Dame should welcome (President) Obama." The president has accepted an invitation to deliver the school's commencement address in May. Woodward says: "American Catholics and their bishops should be proud... Catholicism is not a sect that shuns the world as evil. As a body, the American hierarchy has usually been both principled and open to political engagement."
But newsbusters.org reports that Woodward's son is a Notre Dame employee. Todd Woodward is the associate vice president for marketing at the Catholic institution, but neither the editor nor the newspaper discloses that fact to readers.
There has been an outcry since the commencement announcement. As of today, an online petition against the president's visit has been signed by more than 221,000 people.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier is the Chief Political Anchor of Fox News Channel, and the Anchor & Executive Editor of "Special Report with Bret Baier.” His book, "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission," (William Morrow) is on sale now.