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Special Report

Secret Service Responds to Suggestions of Lax Security at Barack Obama Event

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

No Danger

The Secret Service is denying there was any danger to Barack Obama or anyone else after many in the crowd at an Obama rally in Dallas Wednesday were allowed into reunion arena — without being individually screened. The Dallas Star-Telegram newspaper reports some police officers expressed concerns after the order was given to stop using metal detectors to screen people. The paper says the Secret Service — "apparently" — made the decision — because of long lines at entry points.

But Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren told FOX News today that there was no lapse in security — and that the plan did not call for everyone to be wanded. He said that the persons who expressed concern were not familiar with the overall security plan — which was executed exactly as outlined. Zahren says Secret Service security plans are layered — and developed separately for each venue.

Easy Money

Some Hillary Clinton supporters are said to be grumbling following the release of the campaign's latest spending figures — which feature expenditures such as $15 million on consultants — in just the month of January. The Politico reports insiders say the money flowing to Clinton's Washington-area advisers could have been better spent elsewhere.

Other outlays included more than $95,000 for deli platters at the Iowa caucuses ... $1,300 at Dunkin' Donuts ... and more than $25,000 for rooms at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas during the week prior to the Nevada caucuses.

No Thanks

Seattle Post-Intelligencer managing editor David McCumber today has a column explaining his decision not to run The New York Times story on John McCain's relationship to a female lobbyist — even though the paper often runs pieces from the Times' news service.

McCumber writes — "To me, the story had serious flaws. It did not convincingly make the case that McCain either had an affair with a lobbyist, or was improperly influenced by her."

"For a story that dealt with the maybe, looked-like-to-some-people, nobody-knew-for-sure dalliance in an extraordinarily elliptical fashion, it sure had a lot of impact."

"This story seems to me not to pass the smell test. It makes the innuendo of impropriety, even corruption, without backing it up. I was taught that before you run something in the newspaper that could ruin somebody's reputation, you'd better have your facts very straight indeed."

Blame Game

And a team of scientists has concluded that global warming is not to blame for an increase in economic damages from hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports on its Web site that the scientists say the higher damage figures are not due to a spike in the number or intensity of hurricanes — but rather to greater population, infrastructure and wealth on the coastlines.

Says one of the researchers — who works at NOAA — "There is nothing in the U.S. hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts."

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