Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Tightening the Belt
President Obama said during Wednesday night's news conference that his administration implemented changes to the old budget that lowered the federal deficit by $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
But The New York Times points out $1.5 trillion of that savings is based on an assumption that the U.S. would have had as many troops in Iraq 10 years from now, as it did when Mr. Obama took office in January.
However, former President Bush had already signed an agreement mandating withdrawal of all American forces within three years. The Times writes, "Mr. Obama is claiming credit for not spending money that, under the policy he inherited from Mr. Bush, would never have been spent in the first place."
As we mentioned earlier, Democrats are blocking Republican House members from using taxpayer funds to mail a chart that illustrates a complicated web of government offices and programs, which they contend will result from the Democrats' health care reform initiative. Roll Call newspaper reports Democratic leaders say the chart is misleading and false, and sending it out via official mail would violate House rules.
Republicans say Democrats are just unhappy with how convoluted the health care bureaucracy looks on paper. The bipartisan House Franking Committee has ruled that the flow chart can only be distributed if it includes a disclosure saying, "this might be inaccurate."
Some members of California Senator Barbara Boxer's own party are said to be worried that her abrasive personal style could endanger prospects for climate change legislation this year.
The Politico newspaper reports Boxer is blamed by many for poisoning debate over last year's global warming legislation, which was defeated. And they fear a repeat.
Last month Boxer rebuked a brigadier general during a committee hearing for calling her "Ma'am" instead of "Senator." And recently Boxer was accused by the CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce of condescending and racial behavior.
A Democratic staffer told Politico that Boxer takes things to a very personal level. Another worried she isn't capable of making compromises needed to pass tough bills saying, "Her way is the only way."
Boxer says she has no regrets, and that she uses any and all criticism to raise funds for her 20-10 reelection campaign.
And finally, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger brandishes a huge hunting knife before he talks about budget cuts in a video posted to his Twitter account. And the Republican has a message to those who see the video as insensitive: "You sent a governor to Sacramento — not El Stiffo, like some of the past were, but you sent someone that is a little bit more entertaining and has a little bit more fun with the whole thing... So just relax and have a little bit of a sense of humor."
— FOX News Channel's Britt Lanna 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," published by William Morrow, will be released on January 10, 2017.