Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

For the Record

A potentially record-breaking number of congressional challengers are running this election year. The Associated Press counts more than 2,300 vying for House and Senate in the midterms. That is the highest figure since records began in 1975.

The field has nearly twice as many Republican candidates as Democrats, as well as several hundred independent and third party challengers.

Meanwhile, Gallup's latest generic ballot shows Republicans enjoying a 49 to 43 lead — the biggest of the midterm cycle. Gallup says a growing group of independents has shifted more toward the GOP.

Bush-Whacked?

We told you Tuesday that Al Gore and wife Tipper are separating after 40 years of marriage. Now, a family friend is suggesting the person responsible for the split is former President George W. Bush.

Sally Quinn told CBS News that losing the 2000 election to Mr. Bush may have done the Gore marriage irreparable harm.

The Gore breakup now joins a laundry list of things Mr. Bush has been blamed for, including a head-butt at a World Cup soccer match, the African baby boom, the Gulf oil spill, and the Sheryl Crow-Lance Armstrong break-up.

Sell Out

And finally, former Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial starts Thursday. He is accused of trying to sell President Obama's old Senate seat.

The defense hopes to call White House staffers Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel, and Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, who says, "given the former governor's previous antics regarding the case it's no surprise he's casting a wide net — apparently from the president down to dogcatcher."

A judge rejected a defense request to have the president testify. But the former governor will take the stand at his trial, with the blessing of his lawyer, who says, "he's a celebrity idiot, but he is a celebrity... he's truly funny — totally self-absorbed but truly funny."

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