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Special Report

Has Sen. Brownback's Position on the Iraq Troop Surge Been Distorted?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Critical Ads

The liberal group troop increase in Iraq. One of the targets — Sam Brownback of Kansas — who's running for president. But Brownback doesn't support the troop surge. In fact, he's against it.

Still, a spokeswoman for Moveon.org tells McClatchy newspapers— the ads are not misleading— because Brownback voted Monday— along with 45 other Republican senators— to block Democratic efforts to set the terms of the debate.

Bloggers Stay

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards— will keep 2 controversial bloggers on his payroll — despite a firestorm of controversy over some of their past writings.

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights President Bill Donohue — has called Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots."

He cites the following posts:

Marcotte — "The Catholic church is not about to let something like compassion for girls get in the way— of using the state as an instrument to force women to bear more tithing Catholics."

And McEwan questioned what religious conservatives don't understand about, "keeping your noses out of our britches, our beds and our families."

But Senator Edwards said today— while he's offended by those blogs— he believes in giving everyone a fair shake. Both women apologized— to anyone who was offended.

Picking Up the Tab

San Francisco's Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom, reportedly has agreed to pay the salary of his former campaign manager — who quit after confronting Newsom — about an affair the mayor had with his wife.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports— Newsom will personally pay 15,000 a month— until Alex Tourk finds a new job.

Game, Set, Match

And it is "game — set — and match"— for any senator-turned-lobbyist— who wants to use the Senate's tennis court. Politico.com reports new ethics rules mean lobbyists can no longer play on the court in the Hart Senate Office Building.

That includes former Louisiana Democratic Senator J. Bennett Johnston — for whom "Bennett's Court" is named. Johnston says, "In typical fashion, the Congress totally overreacts to something— that was never a problem in the first place. It's just ridiculous."

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