Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Stretching the Truth?
Vice President Joe Biden may have engaged in some revisionist history Tuesday when he said during an interview on CNN: "I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office... 'well Joe,' he said, 'I'm a leader.' And I said, 'Mr. President, turn around look behind you. No one is following.'"
Biden has repeated similar stories in the past. But a number of former Bush aides dispute his assertions. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tells FOX: "I never recall Biden saying any of that." Former White House chief of staff Andy Card says: "This does not ring true to me. I doubt that it happened." Former White House political adviser and current FOX News contributor Karl Rove adds: "I remember checking on such a Biden exaggeration while at the White House and no one witnessed the meeting and his comments in remotely the same way."
A spokesman for the vice president says he stands by his remarks.
A new rule requiring lawmakers to post their earmark requests on their Web sites is having mixed results. The Hill newspaper reports some House members are prominently displaying their requests, while others are listing them in obscure places.
New York Democrat Nita Lowey has posted links to her earmarks on different pages throughout her site's "legislative issues" section. Ohio Republican Steven LaTourette put his requests under "other issues." It takes three clicks to get from New York Democrat Jose Serrano's home page to his earmark list. And Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers has filed his earmarks under "economic development and job creation."
Watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense says 71 lawmakers have failed to post their earmarks or make them readily accessible on their Web sites. Steve Ellis, a spokesman for the group says: "Some lawmakers put a link to the disclosures right on the home page, while others bury their requests under an electronic rock... that isn't exactly transparency."
Poor Choice of Words
And, we have done a few Grapevine items on previous comments and actions of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, but he may have made his biggest verbal blunder yet. The Italian leader was touring the tent cities set up for earthquake survivors this week when he said: "They have everything they need. They have medical care, hot food. Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary, but they should see it like a weekend of camping."
His remarks caused outrage among some of the homeless, who have had to weather driving rain, hail and near-freezing temperatures. By nightfall Tuesday, some victims were still without tents. One woman yelled: "Shame on you! State television says everything's under control, but we can't even get into the tents."
Berlusconi explained his comments today saying he thought people could use a little optimism and playfulness. More than 250 people died in Monday's quake.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.