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Special Report

Obama vs. Bush on Cleaning Up Toxic Waste

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Burning Bush

The Bush administration was loudly criticized for not cleaning up enough of America's most toxic waste sites to suit many environmentalists. But the Associated Press reports the Obama administration plans to do even less, and environmentalists are largely silent.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will begin the final phase of cleanup at fewer Superfund sites during President Obama's first two years in office than in any administration since 1991. The EPA expects to finish construction to remove the last traces of pollution at 20 sites this year and 22 sites next year.

During the eight years of the Bush administration, the agency finished construction at an average of 38 sites per year. Back in 2005, Michigan Democratic Congressman John Dingell said of George W. Bush: "The president should explain to the American people why he is content to leave the public health and environment at risk while toxic sites lay untreated in our communities for years."

Today, Dingell's office ignored our multiple requests for comment.

Jet Blues

Updating a story we brought you last week, the Wall Street Journal reports bipartisan opposition is emerging in the Senate against a plan by House lawmakers to spend $550 million for eight jets.

House lawmakers added two of those jets to the original Air Force request at an additional cost of $132 million. Lawmakers said the jets would be used to ferry members of Congress and top government officials.

The plan to upgrade the fleet of government jets has also been criticized by Pentagon officials, who say the Air Force only really needs four new planes.

Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill says: "The whole thing kind of makes me sick to my stomach... People get out of touch and they spend money like it's Monopoly money."

South Dakota Republican John Thune said the funding for new planes is "a classic example of Congress being out of touch with the realities of deficit spending."

Other senators who oppose the plan include Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Kit Bond of Missouri, and Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

Fresh Meat

Now that Sarah Palin is no longer in office, some liberals have begun targeting another outspoken conservative: Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann. Perhaps the start of a Bachmann Derangement Syndrome?

Politico reports Democrats are increasing their efforts to unseat Bachmann in next year's election. Democratic officials in that state can barely contain their anger towards her. One called her "nuts" and an "utter embarrassment" while Minnesota-based Democratic strategist Donald McFarland said: "She is further to the right than Attila the Hun."

On the liberal blog Daily Kos, one commentator wrote: "I shake my head that such a beautiful place would be represented by such an ugly individual as Bachmann." But Michael Brodkorb of the Minnesota Republican Party said of Democratic efforts: "I think she probably frustrates them because she's able to win every time."

— FOX News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.