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More Post Office Cuts on the Way?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Return to Sender

The U.S. Postal Service's current business model is not viable. That is the conclusion of an audit by the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO recommends the service make deeper job and wage cuts, hire more part-time staff, and consider outsourcing operations. Auditors also are urging Congress to allow the post office to cut Saturday mail delivery and close post offices.

Auditors estimate the postal service will lose a record $7 billion this fiscal year, and could lose at least $238 billion in the next decade. The GAO warned: "If no action is taken — risks of larger USPS losses — rate increases and taxpayer subsidies will increase."

Southern Discomfort

A second Republican governor is getting some attention over Confederate History Month. We told you last week that Virginia's Bob McDonnell was forced to apologize for and then re-issue a proclamation recognizing the month, because the original statement did not mention slavery.

Then, Mississippi's Haley Barbour said everyone knows that slavery was a "bad thing," and he didn't think McDonnell had made a mistake with his original statement: "To me, it's sort of feeling that it's a nit. That it's not significant, that it's trying to make a big deal out of something that doesn't amount to diddly."

The Democratic National Committee quickly slammed Barbour's comments as outrageous, saying that he "defended the indefensible."

Under the Radar

President Obama caused a stir Saturday when he left the White House without the traveling press corps. The understanding between the White House and the press is that wherever the president goes, the press pool follows.

But the White House said President Obama ditched the media to watch one of his daughters play soccer.

The Associated Press reported the president "quietly breached years of protocol...[and] broke years of tradition."

Sunday the president made light of the situation, acknowledging that the press pool wasn't pleased: "Apparently I caused quite a problem. They were very upset about it. It was big news today," he told Pakistan's visiting prime minister.

The president said there was some kind of miscommunication between his secretary and the Secret Service that led to the mix up. This is the second time President Obama has abandoned the press pool since taking office.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each had at least one incident in which they left the press pool behind.

Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt 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