Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The U.N. is accusing Syria of interfering in the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. But Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad says the real investigation should be why France has failed to look into what he calls the assassination of Yasser Arafat.
The former Palestinian president died in a Paris hospital last year of an unknown illness and while the U.N. has implicated senior Syrian officials, including Assad's brother-in-law, in Hariri's death. But the Middle East Media Research Institute reports that Assad insists on Syria's innocence and blasts France for its silence on "the assassination of President Arafat..." arguing that the nation is obligated to investigate Arafat's death for "moral reasons."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has reiterated his doubt about the Holocaust for the second time in a week, telling an Islamic conference, "If the killing of Jews in Europe is true, and the Zionists are being supported because of this excuse, why should the Palestinian nation pay the price?" The president came under fire from allies like Russia and Saudi Arabia last week after expressing doubt about the Nazi genocide of Jews, and suggesting that Israel be moved to Europe — all during an international Muslim conference to denounce "extremist thought."
If there was ever any doubt that the long knives are out for Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, consider what Newsweek's chief political correspondent Howard Fineman, who works for the same parent company, said about Woodward this week.
Speaking at a lecture series, Fineman said Woodward has gone from being a great investigative reporter to an "official court stenographer of the Bush administration." Fineman criticized the famous Watergate reporter for failing to reveal his conversations with administration officials about former CIA employee Valerie Plame to his editors at the Post and attacked Woodward's credentials as an objective outsider, saying, "He's a great reporter, but he's become a great reporter of official history."
Former FEMA director Michael Brown wasn't the only player in the Katrina disaster concerned about his physical appearance. While Brown was raked over the coals for his happy-talk reply to an e-mail complimenting his wardrobe during the Katrina response, 13 pages of e-mails released by House staffers investigating the hurricane response show that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco's administration initiated a coordinated campaign to change her look.
One press consultant to the Democratic governor suggested that she "dress down a bit and look like she has rolled up her sleeves," saying, "I have some great Liz Claiborne sports clothes... She would look like a woman, but show she is moving mountains."
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report