The latest from the Political Grapevine:
France Trying to Embarrass U.S. and Britain?
Italy is accusing France of circulating fake documents showing Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger ... in a deliberate attempt to embarrass the U.S. and Britain.
Italian officials, quoted in London's Sunday Telegraph, say French intelligence services used an Italian-born middleman, known as Jahcomo, to distribute a combination of genuine and bogus documents, and ultimately, "make the allies look ridiculous [and] .. undermine their case for war."
What's more, the Sunday Telegraph was told, France was driven by a desire to protect its trading relationship with Saddam Hussein. French officials strongly deny the allegations.
And the British later said they had other intelligence information about Saddam's efforts to buy uranium that they still believe is genuine.
Don't Let 'Em See Ya Sweat?
In politics, as in show business, they always say: Don't let 'em see ya sweat. Well, Dockers has now sent its new "Perspiration Guard" shirts to both President Bush and John Kerry, and their staffs, promising to, "drastically minimize sweat show-through" now that "the heat is on for [the] presidential candidates."
This after nearly half of Americans surveyed said they would have a negative perception of politicians who show sweat stains on their clothes. All of them do ... but no one is likely to come up with anything to stop the full sweat-through ... which happens from time to time on the campaign trail ... as it did last Friday for President Bush in Wisconsin.
Tiptoeing Around "Terrorists"?
In their coverage of the Chechen separatists who took over a school in Russia and blew it up, killing hundreds last week ... Major newspapers have avoided calling the perpetrators "terrorists," except when quoting President Bush on the matter ... instead calling them guerillas or, as we called them before, separatists.
Well, National Lampoon took note of the reluctance ... and wrote as a result, "Merriam-Webster Inc. has announced that they will be pulling the word 'terrorist' from the 2005 edition of their dictionaries."
Because Merriam Webster concluded, the Lampoon continued, that if newspapers weren't using the word for an act that killed hundreds of schoolchildren, there was, "no way the word would ever be used."
Goin' Home Is Good News
Doctors say President Clinton may get out of the hospital by the end of the week, which, as comedian Rodney Dangerfield noted when he recently checked in for heart surgery, is good news.
Just before he went in, Dangerfield said, "If things go right, I'll be there about a week; and if things don't go right, I'll be there about an hour and a half."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report