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Senate Democrats Balk at Specter Deal

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Cutting in Line?

Some Senate Democrats are upset over the deal Majority Leader Harry Reid made with Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, allowing Specter to keep the seniority he earned as a Republican and bypass other Democrats on some of the most powerful committees.

The Hill newspaper reports that Maryland's Barbara Mikulski says, "I won't be happy if I don't get to chair something because of Arlen Specter."

A senior Democratic lawmaker -- who spoke on condition of anonymity -- says the Democratic conference will vote against giving Specter seniority over others, saying that Reid's agreement is "his deal and not the Caucus's."

Iowa's Tom Harkin tells the Politico newspaper that he has no intention of stepping aside for specter: "It doesn't work that way."

Reid All About It

The paperback version of Reid's book "The Good Fight" is due out May 5. It has a new epilogue called "The Obama Era," in which Reid says he was impressed by then-Senator Obama when he delivered a speech about the Bush war policy.

Reid writes: "'That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: 'I have a gift, Harry.'"

Reid says he was hesitant to include that comment because he knew it could be interpreted as bragging.

Chapter & Verse

The wife of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards writes in her new book that when she learned of her husband's affair: "I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up."

The New York Daily News reports that Edwards — who is terminally ill with cancer — says her husband admitted his betrayal just days before he announced he was running for president in 2006, a full year before the National Enquirer broke the story.

Edwards never mentions by name her husband's mistress, Rielle Hunter. But she says while her own life might be tragic, Hunter's is "pathetic." She also says that Hunter's pick-up line to her husband was: "You are so hot."

Easy Pickings

President Obama was asked 13 questions and four follow-ups during Wednesday night's news conference. There were a few softballs. Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times asked the president what about the office had surprised, enchanted, humbled and troubled him the most.

Reporter Jimmy Orr of the Christian Science Monitor Online asks: "That's the best question The New York Times could have come up with... really?"

Chris Steller of the Minnesota Independent says the question "consumed one-seventh of last night's prime-time press conference — time that could have been spent on two substantive questions."

And Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard says, "Zeleny embarrassed himself and his paper... I was unable to see whether the question was read out of a My Little Unicorn notepad."

— 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

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