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Special Report

AP Confidential?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

The Associated Press continues to insist that footage it put out from a White House briefing on Hurricane Katrina was "confidential video," despite the fact the events depicted on the tape were open to the press, and transcripts of the event were released to reporters and to members of Congress.

But the AP is backing off its original report, which suggested the tape caught President Bush in a lie. Seizing on that story, the Democratic Party claimed the tapes directly contradicted the president's claim that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." But in what it called a "clarification" on Friday, the AP notes that experts merely warned the president that the levees could be overtopped, not that they might be breached.

Abandonment of Americans?

Aaron Broussard's claim that "Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonment’s of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history."

In fact, the magazine calls the response "by far the largest — and fastest — rescue effort in U.S. history,” noting that nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arrived on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.

The story also knocked former FEMA director Michael Brown for calling the "failure to evacuate," the tipping point for all the other things that went wrong, noting that 1.2 million people were able to leave the city within 38 hours and most of those who remained in New Orleans did so by choice.

Financial Fight

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill have squared off in a behind-the-scenes battle with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean over how to spend their money. The Washington Post reports that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi confronted Dean in a private meeting in Pelosi's office last month — demanding that the DNC commit more cash to key congressional races and less to organizing the party in Republican strongholds.

Pelosi urged Dean to focus on 2006 worrying that his prolific spending could cost the party several key races. But the Post reports that Dean refused to back down from his pledge to rebuild the party across the country.

‘A Model Prison’

A top Belgian security official has called Guantanamo Bay, "a model prison," saying inmates are treated better there than in his own country. After visiting the detention center on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Brussels' anti-terrorism official Alain Grignard said food, clothing, medical care, and religious freedoms were all better than in Belgian prisons. Grignard added that the camp had dramatically improved each time he visited over the last two years, but noted that holding people for years without due process could constitute "mental torture."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.