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Special Report

Presidential Failure to Launch?

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Failure to Launch?

A parody of President Obama's Web announcement that he is seeking re-election has proven to be more popular than the announcement itself.

The president's video got more than 200,000 hits on YouTube. But the National Republican Senatorial Committee version has attracted more than 668,000 views so far.

Politico's Ben Smith interprets writing -- quote -- "the numbers suggest that -- energy-wise -- we're in 2010 not 2008."

Tell It Like It Is

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich didn't hold back when speaking to high school students over the weekend.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Democrat blasted Illinois politicians by name and said -- quote -- "It's a cesspool of cynicism in Springfield."

Blagojevich predicted he would be vindicated in his corruption re-trial later this month. Monday, his lawyers filed a motion asking for notes from the FBI's interview with then President-elect Obama in late 2008. They say it is crucial to their case preparation. A similar request during his first trial was rejected.

Angling for Support

And finally, Virginia is trying to battle its budget crunch by allowing sponsorships of the state's highway rest areas. Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- or PETA -- wants in on the action.

PETA is offering to sponsor a rest area near Troutville in an effort to raise awareness against fishing. It wants to rename it the "Fishing Hurts" rest area.

PETA calls fishing a blood sport and says the area would feature displays about fish intelligence and the pain, the group says, fish feel from fishing.

PETA also says it might stock vending machines with -- quote -- "delicious vegan faux-fish sticks" and plush Sammy the Sea Kitten toys. It wants a discount on the fee, because it is a non-profit organization.