Grapevine: Columnist rips on Romney religion

Apologizes for Mormon-related remark


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...


A New York Times columnist has apologized for making what some saw as a derogatory comment about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith on his Twitter feed.

Romney had lamented the difficult ties for children in a single-parent families during Wednesday's debate.

That led columnist Charles Blow to tweet -- quote -- "Let me just tell you this Mitt "Muddle Mouth": I'm a single parent and my kids are amazing! Stick that in your magic underwear."

Those last words, reference a Mormon tradition of wearing a temple garment under their clothes to symbolize promises they have made to God.

Today, Blow tweeted -- quote -- "The comment I made about Mormonism during Wednesday's debate was inappropriate, and I regret it. I'm willing to admit that with no caveats."

Penny Saver

A $77 million computer program designed to stop Medicare fraud before it happens has saved taxpayers just $7,600 so far.

The system was able to suspend just one suspicious payment six months after its launch.

Delaware Democratic Senator Tom Carper even wondered if they had left out some zeros in that report.

Lawmakers were hoping to put a significant dent in the $60 billion that's lost to Medicare fraud each and every year.

Medicare officials say it is unfair to grade the new technology on just one statistic.

State of Play

Finally, another President Obama fundraiser-turned-ambassador has failed to impress the State Department.

An inspector general's report finds Bahamas Ambassador Nicole Avant was absent from the embassy 276 days between November 2009 and September 2011an average of 12 days each and every month.

It said Avant presided over what was called -- quote -- "an extended period of dysfunctional leadership and mismanagement."

She resigned in November.