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Special Report

Briefing Open to the Press

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

The AP is calling that tape from a White House briefing on Hurricane Katrina, which caused such a stir when it was released yesterday, "confidential video footage." In fact, most of the August 28 briefing was open to the press and was covered by numerous media outlets including FOX News.

What's more, the entire transcript from the briefing was made available to Congress and to the public last fall.

Bill's Buddies

The chief operating officer of Dubai Ports World says Bill Clinton called a member of the Dubai royal family to convince the emirate to hire his former press secretary Joe Lockhart as its Washington spokesman to help push through the port deal. Ted Bilkey told the House committee investigating the deal that the recommendation was passed down to DP World from the government, but was ultimately rejected.

A Clinton spokesman denied that the former president tried to steer the UAE toward hiring Lockhart, and said he supported his wife Hillary's legislation expressing concern about foreign state management of port operations.

Clinton has a long history with Dubai and he received $300,000 to give a speech there in 2002.

Latest Poll Numbers

The president's job approval rating has dipped below 40 percent in the latest FOX News poll — dropping 5 points since last month and Democrats have narrowed the gap on national security, capitalizing on their opposition to the Arab ports deal. Sixty-nine percent of Americans say they oppose giving Dubai some management of U.S. ports.

Seventy-seven percent say the move would likely jeopardize U.S. security and just 27 percent of Americans see the UAE as a strong ally in the War on Terror. But while most Americans opposed the deal, 42 percent of those polled say congressional opposition is simply political grandstanding.

Politics and Government

The ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee ordered committee staffers to draft a report on alleged Republican corruption and then used the report to solicit campaign donations. New York's Louise Slaughter touted what she called an official committee report titled, "America for Sale: The Cost of Republican Corruption," in a fundraising e-mail, saying it quantifies "the damage the Republican Congress and Bush White House have inflicted on our country."

Republicans accuse Slaughter and the Democrats of raising money using political propaganda put together using official government resources, an act that would run afoul of House ethics rules. But Slaughter denies the charge, telling Roll Call that politics wasn't involved in the report.

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report