And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:
California Democrats: A Rock or a Hard Place?
An election to recall Democratic California Governor Gray Davis (search) could be certified as soon as next week, now that a California appeals court has said signatures on the petition to recall Davis can be verified as they're being counted, instead of in a slower, separate process. Nevertheless, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (search), Terry McAuliffe, has promised to use all resources to fight the possible recall, including giving Democratic voters no other choices. If the recall comes to a vote, Californians will have to choose not only whether to remove Davis, but also who should replace him. But Now McAuliffe says flatly that no democratic candidates shall be on the ballot. He tells the Associated Press, "If you are a California voter and you want to vote to recall Gray Davis, you are not going to have [any other] option but a bunch of right-wing conservatives on the ballot." McAuliffe hopes democrats would then be forced to support Governor Davis. Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and his Rescue California Committee, which is spearheading the Davis recall movement, have commissioned a communications and research firm for advice on how to handle the recall. The resulting 17-page internal memo by Luntz Research says, "While it is important to trash the governor, it should be done in the context of regret, sadness and balance." The memo, quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle, also advises recall supporters to publicly acknowledge that Davis "isn't responsible for everything wrong in California." That will improve your credibility, the memo concludes, and "The more you acknowledge, the more you can attack."
‘Evocative, With a Very French Sound’
The French government, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq (search) and of American influence inside its country, has banned use of the term "e-mail" in all its ministries, documents, publications and web sites. Instead, the French government will use the term "courriel," an abbreviation of the French phrase "courrier electronique," meaning electronic mail. The French government says the term "courriel" is "evocative, with a very French sound."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) yesterday told congress, and the world, that he knows the war on terrorism is affecting each and every part of this country. Well, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, has formally invited Blair to "come and visit." A spokesman for the Idaho Bureau of Tourism seconds the invitation, saying "Hell, we can make that happen... We've got everything in the world here but an ocean." And a spokesman for Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, says he was going to invite Blair too, but Craig, who walked right up to Blair after the speech, got there first.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report