‘Couch Potato’ Condemned

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Reporting on Calls for Senator Durbin to Apologize

When Republican leaders last week took Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (search) to task on the Senate floor and demanded an apology for those comments about Guantanamo Bay, The New York Times gave it three paragraphs of coverage — on Page 15.

And when Durbin issued a statement late Friday saying he "regrets" if his comments were misunderstood, the Times gave that development one paragraph at the end of a national round up on Page 10. So — with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Arizona Republican John McCain calling for a complete apology over the weekend — where did the Times put that today? Nowhere.

‘Extraordinarily Foolish Mistake’

In an autobiography out Monday, West Virginia Democratic Senator Robert Byrd (search) calls his yearlong membership in the Ku Klux Klan many years ago "an extraordinarily foolish mistake" that has tormented him for decades.

In the book, titled "Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields," Byrd says: "It has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me, and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one's life, career and reputation. ... I displayed very bad judgment, due to immaturity and a lack of seasoned reasoning." But, he says, the Ku Klux Klan is what got him thinking about a career in politics, as Klansmen praised his leadership skills.

Just Like Jesus?

Deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (search) has likened himself to Jesus — that according to five U.S. soldiers who guarded him for nine months in Iraq. The soldiers, quoted by GQ magazine, say Saddam insisted that, like Jesus, he was captured after a close confidante told his enemies where he was hiding.

What's more, the soldiers describe Saddam as a friendly and talkative man — who would ask them personal questions and offer relationship advice. National Guardsman Sean O'Shea says that when he told Saddam he was unmarried, Saddam insisted, "you gotta find a good woman. Not too smart, not too dumb. Not too old, not too young. One that can cook and clean."

In addition, the soldiers say Saddam is a "clean freak" who would do his own laundry in his cell's sink, and had a special affinity for eating Cheetos and Raisin Bran.

‘Couch Potato’ Condemned

Potato farmers across Britain took to the streets today to condemn the Oxford English Dictionary (search) for including the term "Couch Potato" — which, they insist, harms the image of potatoes. Specifically, the British Potato Council says the term makes potatoes seem unhealthy, adding, "We are fed up with the disservice [it] does to our product ... Not only are [potatoes] healthy, they are versatile, convenient and taste great too." Potato farmers want the OED to use the term "Couch Slouch" instead. The OED, however, insists its job is to define words used by society, not determine which ones should be used.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report