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Special Report

Brothers in Criticism

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

What do outgoing German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have in common? They're both continuing to rip the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Schroeder, soon to be replaced by the conservative Angela Merkel, warned against eroding Germany's welfare state saying, "I can think of a recent disaster that shows what happens when a country neglects its duties of state towards its people," and adding "you all know that I am talking about America."

Meanwhile, Dean attacked his Republican counterpart Ken Mehlman for daring to speak to the NAACP in Connecticut saying, "I'm shocked that he would have the nerve to show his face in front of any African-American organization after the way they treated those people in New Orleans."

The Grinch Who Stole the Capitol Tree?

Lawmakers from New Mexico are asking the Justice Department to intervene in a court ruling requiring environmental impact reviews for any forest activities approved by the government since, among other things, the decision could hold up the delivery of the Capitol's Christmas tree until Valentine's Day.

The Forest Service has suspended more than 1,500 permits for activities ranging from fire prevention and trail upkeep to family reunions and Boy Scout meetings — all of which had been exempted from such studies because they were deemed to have low environmental impact.

But Republican Sen. Pete Domenici says the decision is "like the Grinch who stole Christmas" for New Mexico, which is responsible for providing the Capitol's tree.

Window to the Presidential Soul?

Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank says that President Bush "has not been viewed up close" since Harriet Miers nomination, despite several presidential speeches and a Rose Garden press conference. So he's resorting to interpreting the president's body language.

Milbank writes that the "blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts" during an NBC interview Tuesday are "the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere."

Milbank counts four blinks during a question on the White House leak investigation, 23 on Hurricane Katrina and 37 on Harriet Miers.

But an unofficial FOX News tally put the number of Presidential blinks during a routine question on Syria today at 42.

Expensive Ticket

Hillary Clinton will be entertaining some of her big political donors at a rock concert in Washington next week. And the band she'll be watching isn't a bit happy about it.

Contributors who pony up $2500 to Clinton's political action committee can share a luxury suite with the former first lady at Wednesday's U2 concert. And Clinton isn't the only senator using the band to raise campaign cash.

Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum is charging $1000 a head to enjoy his company at U2's Philadelphia show.

But a spokesman for the band says their concerts are "categorically not fundraisers for any politician. They are rock concerts for U2 fans."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report