Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Former ambassador Joseph Wilson continues to deny that his wife Valerie Plame recommended him to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium from Niger. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Wilson says CIA officials have consistently denied that assertion in the press. But the grand jury indictment of "Scooter" Libby alleges that CIA officials were saying just the opposite in private.
Libby told the grand jury that on June 11, 2003, a senior CIA officer told him Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and that "the idea of sending him to Niger originated with her." What's more, last year's Senate Intelligence Committee report details a Plame memo, along with testimony from a CIA officer, indicating that sending Wilson to Niger was her idea.
Poor Choice of Words?
CBS White House correspondent John Roberts has apologized to White House spokesman Scott McClellan for his "unfortunate choice of words" in describing new Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
During the morning press gaggle, Roberts noted that the President had repeatedly called former nominee Harriet Miers "the best person for the job" and asked McClellan if that meant that Alito was "Sloppy Seconds." Before asking a question at the White House briefing, Roberts told McClellan he was sorry for his remark.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his call for Israel to be "wiped off the map" was merely a reiteration of Iran's long standing policy, but the remarks have prompted criticism from inside the country. Former president Mohammad Khatami, said the words "have created hundreds of political and economic problems for us in the world." And one prominent former deputy said the remarks "harmed Iran," calling them "irresponsible and illogical."
Timing Is Everything
Meanwhile, Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, mentioned as a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, chose this moment to call for "direct discussions" with Iran, telling an Iowa audience, "The United States is capable of engaging Iran in direct dialogue without sacrificing any of its interests or objectives."
Prince Charles Pitches Islam
England's Prince Charles thinks America has been too intolerant of Islam since 9-11 and the London Telegraph reports that he'll sell that argument to the president during his upcoming visit.
Two months after the 2001 terrorist attacks, Prince Charles told Muslim leaders, "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" and said Americans don't have a sufficient appreciation of Islam and its culture.
Prince Charles is expected to expound upon the virtues of the religion when he meets with President Bush later this week.
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report