Do Hollywood Liberals Hurt Candidates?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Taken Out of Context?

While former Reagan Education Secretary Bill Bennett (search), who is staunchly pro-life, argued on his radio show that aborting black babies would theoretically reduce the crime rate, he immediately called the idea "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible." But you'd never know that from listening to Bennett's critics.

Liberal talk show host Ed Schultz (search) said Bennett is "out there advocating the murder of all black babies." DNC chairman Howard Dean said the remarks were "hateful" and "inflammatory," and Senator Ted Kennedy called Bennett a "racist." And Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (search) said his group would deal with what he called Bennett's "proposed genocide."

Suspended for Security?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (search) has suspended a Phoenix, Arizona, Urban Search and Rescue Team that saved more than 400 Hurricane survivors in New Orleans after learning the group deployed armed police officers for protection during relief efforts.

FEMA's Code of Conduct prohibits such teams from having firearms, but Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon (search) called the rule outdated and unrealistic, saying, "We are not going to send our firefighters and police officers into harm's way if they don't have adequate security." Gordon says the team may refuse dangerous deployments, or even pull out of FEMA altogether unless the rules are changed. He's also demanding an apology.

Large Scale Flying Fish

A team of painters took 24 days and 140 gallons of paint to convert an Alaska Airlines plane into a flying king salmon — and taxpayers picked up the $500,000 tab. The money came from a $29 million fund for Alaska's Fish Marketing Board to "promote and enhance the value of Alaska seafood," set up by Senator Ted Stevens (search), the senior Republican on the Senate appropriations committee. By the way, Stevens' son Ben is chairman of the marketing agency's board of directors.

Clooney Says Keep Quiet

Movie star George Clooney (search) is warning other Hollywood liberals to keep their mouths shut when it comes to politics, saying they're likely to hurt the candidates they're trying to help. Clooney says he declined to campaign for John Kerry last year because critics would use his involvement to paint Kerry as beholden to liberal Hollywood. But while he thinks it's dangerous for actors to go public with their politics, Clooney still defends his left-leaning views, saying, “It's pretty hard to find a time when liberals were on the wrong side of an issue."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report