Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Some of the nation's mayors are miffed over the Obama administration's decision to skip the annual Conference of Mayors in Providence, Rhode Island. The administration is doing so to avoid crossing a labor union picket line by the city's firefighters union. Some Cabinet secretaries had planned on speaking at this week's event. The Politico reports the Democratic Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina Joseph Riley called the decision "a mistake. It was such a surprise because we've worked so closely with them and with the White House."
An administration counter-offer to the mayors for a White House visit later this month, also failed to allay concerns. The mayor of Miami Lakes, Florida, an Independent, complained to Politico: "People are losing their jobs, and he expects us all to fly to Washington?... We justified the expense [of the conference] to our constituents, our taxpayers, and by not showing up, he kind of puts us under the bus... There's a certain arrogance."
A new Gallup poll, that surveyed 1,000 adults from January through May 2009 with a margin of error of plus or minus one percent, shows conservatives are now the single-largest ideological group. Forty percent of Americans interviewed describe their political views as conservative. Thirty-five percent choose moderate, while just 21 percent identified themselves as liberal. That represents a slight increase for conservatism in the country since last year, bringing it to a level last seen in 2004. The liberal figure has stayed consistent since 2000.
Extra Special Coverage
ABC News is responding to a letter from the Republican National Committee regarding the network's prime time health care special planned for next week.
Republicans are upset that the network's nightly newscast will be broadcast from the Blue Room of the White House ahead of the special focusing on the president's health care plan. In a letter RNC Chief of Staff Ken McKay said the special has the potential to "become a glorified infomercial" unless it included voices of opposition.
But ABC News Senior Vice President Kerry Smith, responded to those "false premises" saying the network alone will select the people asking questions and that, "ABC news will have complete editorial control."
Fair and Balanced
And during an interview with CNBC this afternoon, President Obama decided to call out our own network, for coverage that he thinks is anything but fair and balanced.
OBAMA: I've got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration. I mean, you know, that's a pretty...
HARWOOD: I assume you're talking about FOX.
OBAMA: Well, that's a pretty big megaphone. And you'd be hard pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front. I think that ultimately my responsibility is to provide the best possible decision-making on behalf of the American people at a time where we've got a lot of big problems. And, you know, we welcome people who are asking us some tough questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
The president followed that up by saying he thinks any positive feedback he's gotten is because of the administration's transparency and his own accessibility.
— FOX News Channel's Lanna Britt 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.