Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
On the Campaign Trail?
President Obama has come under some criticism for an official travel schedule that looks a lot like a campaign map. And now a new study supports that view.
The Associated Press says three of every four trips by the president and his key officials so far have been to the 28 states President Obama carried in last year's election.
Eighty percent of the administration's official domestic travel has been to states likely to be key to the re-election effort. Associated Press writer Philip Elliot says: "Only this year, the taxpayers are footing the multi-million dollar tab."
Vice President Joe Biden made five trips to Pennsylvania to tout the stimulus package. The report states taxpayers have spent almost a $1.5 million dollars for trips by top officials other than President Obama and Vice President Biden.
A White House spokesman says the travel is necessary to promote the administration's agenda.
Embattled House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel will face a primary opponent in his re-election effort next year. The challenge comes from a man who once worked for Rangel as a special assistant, and later as campaign manager.
Vince Morgan says: "It's time for change. Our district needs new leadership that is in touch with the community and the issues that confront us today." Morgan did not mention the ethics cloud hanging over Rangel, or last week's GOP attempt to remove him from his chairmanship.
But some in the party's base are criticizing the Democratic leadership over its consistent support for Rangel. Liberal blogger Arianna Huffington writes: "The Democrats have to make it clear to America's beleaguered middle class that they don't believe there are two sets of rules — one for the power players of Wall Street and Washington — and one for everybody else."
And the liberal Daily Kos writes: "Rangel should step down from his chairmanship until the ethics committee completes its work."
Par for the Course
Hugo Chavez has identified another threat to his regime: the game of golf. The Venezuelan president has moved to shut down two of his country's best-known courses. The New York Times reports that would make about nine facilities closed in the last three years.
Chavez says: "Golf is a bourgeois sport... there are sports and there are sports. Do you mean to tell me this is a people's sport? It is not."
But Venezuela's top ally is going in the opposite direction. Foreign investors are developing as many as 10 new golf courses in communist Cuba in an effort to raise tourist revenues.
— Fox News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier currently serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) chief political anchor and anchor of Special Report with Bret Baier(weeknights at 6-7PM/ET), the highest-rated cable news program in its timeslot and consistently one of the top five shows in cable news. Based in Washington, DC, he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau.