Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Never-Ending Campaign?
President Obama continues to face criticism over what some say is a campaign that seems like it never ended.
The London Telegraph's U.S. editor, Toby Harnden, writes: "Beyond the grand announcements, fine speeches and his eager acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Mr. Obama has yet to achieve anything of substance. It is time for the campaign to end."
The Politico newspaper says the president's trip to Florida this week: "Looks like a campaign swing... the strongest sign that Obama is in campaign mode is that his scheduled events sidestep controversial issues."
The stimulus and health care reform are not on the focus of his Florida speaking agenda. And so far this year, the Politico reports the Democratic National Committee has, "paid at least $5.9 million... to do a range of work that will boost the party as a whole, and also lay the foundation for Obama's re-election campaign."
Some in President Obama's base are hoping to derail his nominee for chief agricultural negotiator at the U.S. Trade Office.
The Politico says environmentalists are upset because Islam Siddiqui is a former pesticide industry lobbyist. One Web site calls him a "pesticide pusher." Farming organization, National Family Farm Coalition, adds: "We are seriously disheartened by this appointment." And an anti-pesticide group, Pesticide Action Network, now wonders: "Just how committed the Obama administration is to promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing hunger in the developing world."
A White house spokesman says Siddiqui was chosen because of his experience and his efforts developing organic food standards.
Pass It Along?
President Obama reportedly asked Spain's foreign minister to deliver a message for him to Cuban leader Raul Castro.
An anonymous U.S. official says the president wanted to: "Urge the Castro regime to take steps to reform and improve human rights."
Meanwhile, one of Fidel Castro's sisters says she collaborated with the CIA against her brother. Juanita Castro writes in her new memoir that she met with a CIA operative during a 1961 trip to Mexico. She says she agreed to smuggle messages, documents and money back into Cuba and continue communications via short-wave radio. She fled Cuba in 1964, taking up residence in Miami.
— 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.