Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
Some lobbyists are skirting new White House rules that ban them from seeking details about the economic stimulus plan. The Wall Street Journal reports lobbyists are instead sending company executives, lawyers or consultants to meet with federal officials on their behalf. Washington-based registered lobbyist Rich Gold says: "Where there's any issue, it's just easier to hand it off to somebody who's not registered... people are helping out who normally wouldn't be engaged in this."
The rules prohibit lobbyists from contacting federal officials in person or by phone. Instead, contacts must be in writing and posted online. But many say the rules are too strict. The president of the American League of Lobbyists Dave Wenhold says: "The March 20 rules have the opposite effect of making government more transparent. We gone from 'let's be safe and let everyone know what I'm doing' to 'maybe I don't register.'"
The Big Grapple
President Obama is having a tough time with New Yorkers this week. We told you his administration authorized an Air Force One backup jet to fly over the city Monday for a photo shoot. The event caused panic and evoked memories of the September 11 attacks.
Now, some New Yorkers are complaining that President Obama has not yet visited their city as the nation's leader. The New York Daily News says in an article by correspondent David Saltonstall: "Not once in President Obama's first 100 days has he set foot in New York — the U.S. city that contributed the most money to his campaign, and the state that gave him more votes than all but California."
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf says, "It certainly is rude, but not surprising. Why would you spend time here when you know you got it?"
Of the 10 states Mr. Obama has visited, seven, unlike New York, are considered "battle-ground" states.
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may have sent his clearest message yet that he does not want fellow Kentucky Republican Senator Jim Bunning to run for re-election. The Politico newspaper reports McConnell's Political Action Committee has given more than $100,000 to 10 incumbent Republican senators running for re-election and one new Senate GOP candidate.
He also shelled out thousands to Senators Richard Shelby and John McCain, even though they are sitting on millions in campaign cash.
But Bunning, who has less than $400,000 in his war chest, is getting no help. Republicans are said to be worried about his re-election chances because of poor poll numbers and dismal fundraising efforts. We reported in February that Bunning threatened to sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if it recruits a primary challenger to run against him.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.