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Special Report

Daley the Decisive Factor

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

It turns out the decisive factor that brought Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to apologize for those controversial remarks on Guantanamo Bay was Chicago Mayor and fellow Democrat Richard Daley's criticism of him.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Durbin had no intention of backing away from his comments Tuesday morning, and Senate Democrats were preparing to defend him further. But then Durbin heard Daley had called his remarks a "disgrace," and said he should apologize. Durbin was blindsided.

At about the same time, Daley — realizing his remarks were about to be national news — phoned Durbin to say he didn't mean any harm. But Durbin was already on the Senate floor, apologizing.

Doc May Soon Resign?

The New York Times reports Thursday that, according to "Republican Congressional officials," House ethics committee chairman and Washington Republican Doc Hastings is privately warning that he's so frustrated by an impasse over investigating embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, he may soon resign.

But Hastings tells FOX News he has no plans whatsoever to resign, and there's no truth to the report, insisting, "I have no idea where that story came from."

Senators Hurting Own Party Back Home?

The chairman of the Ohio Republican Party is complaining that his state's two Senators, both Republican are hurting his fundraising efforts. Chairman Bob Bennett says donations to the party through direct mail and telemarketing have recently dropped, and "there's no question" Senator George Voinovich's opposition to U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton, and Senator Mike DeWine's role in that Senate compromise over Bush judicial nominees are at least partially to blame. As for how much fundraising is down, Bennett didn't say.

Jack of All Trades?

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff — accused, among other things, of defrauding an Indian tribe out of millions — once tried to fake his way into an elite Washington club with help from a rabbi... that according to an e-mail cited at a Senate hearing yesterday. In the e-mail, from 2000, Abramoff tells rabbi and friend Daniel Lapin that he's been nominated for membership at the Cosmos Club, but may not be qualified. So, Abramoff says, "I was wondering if ... I could put that I have received an award from [your faith-based organization] ... with a sufficiently academic title, perhaps something like Scholar of Talmudic Studies? ... Indeed, it would be even better if it were possible that I received these in years past, if you know what I mean."

Lapin's response? "I just need to know what needs to be produced. Letters? Plaques?" Well, despite that, Abramoff never became a member.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report