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Special Report

Will a Political Star's Earlier Candor Come Back to Haunt Him in a Presidential Race?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

"Received as Refreshing"

The success of likely Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's most recent book — "the Audacity of Hope" — has brought some attention to his earlier memoir — and the Illinois senator's admission of past illegal drug use. The book is called "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" and was published 11 years ago when he was 34.

Obama writes of his search for identity as a young man: "Pot had helped and booze and maybe a little blow (cocaine) when you could afford it. Junkie, pothead, that's where I'd been headed. I had got high to push questions of who I was out of my mind."

A Republican strategist tells the Washington Post he does not believe the admission will kill Obama's candidacy. And fellow Illinois Senator Dick Durbin tells the Post he thinks Obama's revelations "will be received as refreshing."

Boss Unhappy

The New York Times may do away with its "public editor" position when the current editor's term expires in May. The New York Observer writes that Times executive editor Bill Keller has not yet decided whether to keep the position — which is supposed to be representative of the paper's readers. The job was created in the aftermath of the Jayson Blair scandal.

The current occupant, Wall Street Journal veteran Byron Calame, says Keller is "unhappy with some of the things I've written." And the Observer cites one source as saying the two have "a really bad relationship."

Koran Controversy

Last month Virginia Republican Congressman Virgil Goode criticized incoming Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison — who is Muslim — for planning to take his oath of office on the Koran. Now Ellison says he'll be using a Koran once owned by arguably the most famous of all Virginians — Thomas Jefferson.

Ellison will borrow the English translation of the Koran written in the 1750's, and now owned by the Library of Congress. The library allows people to use rare bibles for inaugurations and other special occasions.

Careless Celebs

And a British scientific organization is criticizing celebrities for not checking their facts before they take advocacy positions. The group — called "Sense About Science" — is distributing leaflets explaining why some celebrity positions are wrong — and a telephone number celebrities can call to consult experts before speaking out.

The group cites a statement by Madonna of the need to develop a means of "neutralizing radiation" — which is impossible. And a claim by Heather Mills McCartney — wife of Paul — that drinking milk is linked to childhood obesity — which is false.

One scientist in the group says influential celebrities should make sure they are doing more good than harm when they promote causes.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.