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Special Report

Mystery Man Unmasked

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Big Easy Bankruptcy

As was noted earlier, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says his beleaguered city is now broke. The New Orleans Times Picayune reports the city spent the last of its cash to pay employees last week and is asking for bank loans and federal aid to continue paying its bills.

But despite the lack of funds, Mayor Nagin, who has now moved his family to a new home in Dallas, says he won't stand for state or federal officials assigning reconstruction projects without the approval of city officials, saying, "I don't want anybody outside of New Orleans planning nothing as it relates to how we're going to rebuild this city without us signing off on it."

Mystery Man Unmasked

The mystery Los Angeles Times writer who said he was told by a CNN producer to "get angry" before a Hurricane-related appearance has been identified. He's editorialist Jon Healy and he tells CBS' Public Eye that an hour before he was set to appear on the network to discuss his editorial criticizing the response to Katrina, a producer called to say, "I know this is going to sound tacky, but when you're on the show, could you be angry?"

Healy replied that his responses would reflect the editorial's content, but says, "I'm a news guy, I'm not an actor." CNN denies it told anyone to get angry.

Roberts' Refusals

Planned Parenthood, the abortion rights group, issued a press release today deriding John Roberts for "refusing to answer questions" during his confirmation hearing. The group says Roberts' "evasive responses" signal his "unfitness" for Chief Justice, adding, "Time and again Judge Roberts' answers about privacy rights, reproductive freedom, and the right of all Americans to make their own childbearing choices have been evasive and vague."

That statement was released at 9:58 this morning just under half an hour into the hearing.

Radio v. Roe

The National Right to Life Committee, meanwhile, is airing a radio ad in Illinois blasting Democratic Senator Dick Durbin for saying John Roberts should be "disqualified" for the Supreme Court if he does not support Roe v. Wade.

Durbin told “Meet the Press” in July that "it would trouble [him] greatly" if he thought Roberts might allow states to restrict abortion. But the ad points out that Durbin himself served five times as master of ceremonies at an annual rally to protest Roe and called for overturning the decision as recently as 1989. ."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report