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Special Report

Reports Specter Will Not Retain Seniority After Switching Parties

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

A Specter of His Former Self

Despite promises from Majority Leader Harry Reid, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter apparently will not retain his seniority on his five committees. Specter left the Republican Party to join the Democrats last week.

The Senate approved a resolution Tuesday that makes Specter the most junior Democrat on four of those committees, and next-to-last on the fifth. As we reported, there was a great deal of pushback among Democrats at the deal Specter says he struck with Reid.

Today Specter said in a paper statement: "Senator Reid assured me that I would keep my committee assignments and that I would have the same seniority as if I had been elected as a Democrat in 1980... I am confident my seniority will be maintained under the arrangement I worked out with Senator Reid."

Meanwhile, Specter says he misspoke during an interview with The New York Times Magazine in which he said that Republican Norm Coleman should win Minnesota's disputed Senate race.

Specter told Congressional Quarterly: "In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates."

Tempered Steele

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is facing growing pressure from some inside his own party who are trying to clamp down on his authority. After Steele was elected in January, he pledged a fresh start and dismantled some of the RNC's fundraising apparatus while firing a number of staffers.

That angered many of the party faithful who are now trying to re-introduce the old structure, as well as implement new*checks and balances that would tie Steele's purse strings. An agreement proposed by several current and former GOP officials includes a provision that gives the party treasurer, and not Steele, the final say when it comes to expenditures over $100,000.

Sources tell FOX that Steele considers that an assault on his prerogatives, and that he will fight it at a special committee meeting later this month.

Hot Air?

And former Vice President Al Gore testified before Congress last month that global warming is a: "Dire and growing threat... each day we wait, we increase the risk that we will leave our children and grandchildren an irreparably damaged planet."

But Gallup Poll editor Frank Newport tells U.S. News and World Report that he sees no evidence Gore's campaign has caught on: "They have failed. Any measure that we look at shows Al Gore's losing at the moment. The public is just not that concerned."

Newport points to a recent Gallup Poll showing that a record 41 percent of respondents think global warming claims are exaggerated.

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.