Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is facing serious opposition in his campaign to reform the 61-year-old institution — which many consider bloated and corrupt. Minutes of a January board meeting obtained by FOX News reveal Wolfowitz's critics say he lacks an effective strategy and clear vision for the bank — and reject plans to make almost any reform. Not all of the criticism is professional — one director has attacked Wolfowitz on subjects ranging from his role in planning the Iraq war to his choice of female companionship.
Part of the problem is that the bank's directors are also in many cases representatives of the borrowing countries. One former director said many experts are shocked by this — summing it up as a case of "the inmates running the asylum."
Mainstream Media Reports
Mainstream news outlets covering the Scooter Libby trial continue to say that President Bush's contention that Iraq had tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Africa was contradicted by the findings of Joe Wilson following his CIA mission to Niger, in Africa, to investigate the matter.
The Washington Post today said, "Wilson's mission there was to explore reports, ultimately proved false, that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear material in Niger." But Wilson's report to the CIA actually confirmed that the former prime minister of Niger had met with Iraqis to discuss what was called 'commercial relations' — which Wilson interpreted as meaning sales of yellowcake uranium. Wilson told the CIA he had found no evidence of a successful deal — not that there had been no attempt to broker a deal.
Wilson later wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times which differed from his CIA report.
A gentlemen's agreement among House members to quietly approve an annual cost-of-living increase has disintegrated among partisan squabbling over last year's congressional campaigns. In the past the raise has been approved in an obscure procedural move — instead of a direct up-or-down vote — and neither side made it a campaign issue. But Democrats last summer said they would opt out of the raise until a new minimum wage was approved — and ran attack ads against Republicans for taking pay increases while fighting higher wages for low-paid workers. Now the democrats are in power and are trying to again link the increase to the wage bill — but Republicans are refusing to go along.
So there will be no raise this year — and House members will have to get by on their salary of $165,200.
$6 Million House
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who is running on an anti-poverty platform, is facing questions about his $6 million estate near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
The Raleigh News and Observer says Edwards has been asked whether there is a contradiction between his home—which has a basketball and racquetball courts, along with a pool — and his pledge to reduce poverty. Edwards has said that he's been lucky — making millions as a trial lawyer. He has said feels the responsibility to help people help themselves. In his first presidential campaign, he was attacked for living in a Georgetown mansion while he was talking about two Americas — one rich and one poor.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.