Former Russian Spy Anna Chapman Is Moving Into Politics

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Saturday Night Fever

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is dealing with a party hangover from the weekend.

Manchin admitted to reporters Tuesday it was a mistake to attend a family Christmas gathering Saturday instead of voting on two key Senate bills. His state's AFL-CIO president called Manchin's absence -- quote -- "ineffective representation and leadership."

Manchin said his family celebrated the holiday early because of his grandchildren who wouldn't be there on the actual holiday. But he says if the same situation were to happen in the future, he'll be in Washington.

Manchin isn't the only lawmaker missing holiday votes. More than 70 House members didn't bother showing up to vote Tuesday on bills to fund the federal government and ensure health benefits for 9/11 first responders. More than one-sixth of the lower chamber was missing, including many lawmakers who are either retiring or were defeated in November elections.

Seeing Red

Former Russian spy Anna Chapman is moving into politics.

The redhead took the stage to reaffirm her allegiance to Russia and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by joining the youth wing of his United Russia Party.

Chapman was deported from the U.S. last summer after an FBI sting operation exposed her and nine other so-called sleeper agents.

Chapman told the crowd -- quote -- "let's change the country, starting with ourselves -- be happy."

Acting Out

And finally, actor Ben Affleck told NPR listeners Tuesday he is not happy with overpaid executives.


BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: CEOs' pay shouldn't be 200 times the average worker. It used to be nine times... OK, maybe it's legal and maybe it passes muster with shareholders. But there's something about us that fundamentally feels it isn't right.


Affleck knows a little something about high salaries. He earns tens of millions of dollars for his movies and even reportedly got $250,000 just for showing up at the grand opening of a casino over the summer.