And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has said he will be Howard Dean's senior policy adviser on immigration and who has been in Iowa this week stumping for Dean, was overheard on the plane back today concluding -- "Dean's over."
What's more, he called Dean "mean," noting Dean's speech last night and wondering -- "Do you want a guy who screams like that?" Gutierrez then said -- "I'd rather have Kerry for president."
But he jokingly said he would give Dean at least a week before changing his endorsement, adding -- "I don't want to seem fickle." Whether Gutierrez actually wants to change his endorsement was not clear.
Times' Take ... Now and Then
The New York Times is condemning President Bush for appointing Judge Charles Pickering to a federal appeals court while Congress was in recess, saying -- "Mr. Bush's decision to bypass the Senate in this manner is a finger in the eye for all those seeking fairness in the nomination process."
But in January 2001, when -- at the end of his term -- President Clinton appointed Roger Gregory to a federal appeals court the same way, the Times said -- "By appointing Roger Gregory ... while Congress is in recess, President Clinton rightly moved to address" a lack of diversity on the bench, and other problems.
More Americans Pleased
A new Gallup poll out today shows that Americans are now more pleased with the job performance of Congress than they were a month ago. In mid-December, 43 percent of Americans approved of Congress' job performance. And now, 48 percent of Americans do. Thing is, both the Senate and the House have been in recess since Thanksgiving. Today is their first day back.
Road Map Music?
A new song by Egyptian pop star Sah-ban Abd Al-Rahim is climbing up the charts in Egypt. The song, whose title in English is -- "Road Map," includes such lyrics as -- "Hey people, it was only a tower and I swear by God that they [the Americans] are the ones who pulled it down."
The song then goes on to say -- "Sometimes [Bush] says Iran and sometimes he says Syria ... [and] he shortens his speech if someone says Korea." The song is a new single off Al-Rahim's upcoming album, -- "I don't like the Chairs."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report