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Special Report

Shocking Federal Salaries

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Comparatively Speaking

More than 77,000 federal employees earn a higher salary than that of their respective states' governors. The Washington Times reports the figures are from a Congressional Research Service report requested by Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn.

The 2009 salary figures show more than 18,000 of the employees were doctors. The second-highest total was for about 5,2000 air traffic controllers. Others included park rangers, librarians and one interior designer.

In Maryland, 7 percent of all full-time employees there, earned more than Governor Martin O'Malley's $150,000 salary.

Coburn says the figures should prompt Congress to take a closer look at salaries. But a union representing federal employees says the bigger problem is payments to contractors.

Making an Entrance

Democrats are crying foul over New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie's use of a state helicopter to attend his son's high school baseball game.

Christie and his wife landed in a nearby field just before the game Tuesday night. They stayed through the fifth inning. Later, Christie had dinner with GOP donors from Iowa who were courting him for a presidential run.

One state Democrat told the Star-Ledger -- quote -- "Perhaps his presidential courters can help him foot the bill so our taxpayers aren't on the hook for such perks."

State police officials say it costs $25,000 an hour to fly in their helicopter but that the trip did not cost taxpayers anything extra because it counts as training time.

Christie's office has said the helicopter is used occasionally but judiciously.

Cheap Date?

And finally, as Sarah Palin's bus tour rolled into the Big Apple, she and Donald Trump and also their families met up for dinner. The two exchanged niceties at a Times Square pizza joint.

Mediaite joked -- quote -- "Who knew Trump was such a cheap date?"