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Special Report

Boxer Aide's Career Up in Smoke

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Taking a Turn

Florida's hot Senate race has just taken an interesting turn. The Miami Herald reports Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek's campaign is sending out e-mails linking Independent Charlie Crist to conservatives. One highlights South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's endorsement of Crist from May of last year, before Crist left the party.

Some reporters did not realize the endorsement was old news and treated it as breaking news. After Crist's party switch, Graham threw his support to Republican Marco Rubio. But Meek's spokesman says the endorsement is still relevant: "It highlights Crist's conservative record. He may have left the Republican Party to avoid that primary but he's still a conservative, he still has those views on some issues and that's why we're doing them."

Up in Smoke

The career of an aide to California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer has just gone up in smoke.

Capitol Police say Boxer senior economic adviser Marcus Stanley tried to hide an item he took out of his pocket while entering a Senate office building Tuesday. Authorities say the item was marijuana.

A spokesperson for Boxer said the senator has accepted the aide's resignation, calling his actions wrong and unacceptable.

Stanley is the second Boxer staffer to have legal issues. Senior policy adviser Jeffrey Rosato was fired two years ago after his arrest on a child pornography charge.

Carp Czar

President Obama has a new "czar." Former Indiana natural resources chief John Goss is now the carp "czar" -- no joke. He will lead an $80 million campaign to control Asian carp in the Great Lakes. They threaten other fish populations and have no natural predators in the U.S.

Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin sounded the battle cry in the war on carp saying, "This is a serious challenge, a serious threat... we are in a full attack, full-speed ahead mode. We want to stop this carp from advancing."

We counted and Goss is the 41st "czar" President Obama has appointed since taking office.