The latest from the Political Grapevine:
Bush's Latest Approval Rating
The Bush campaign is crowing about the latest Gallup poll showing the president's 51 percent approval rating. GOP Pollster Matthew Dowd (search) says that number is almost identical with the 52 percent approval rating for Bill Clinton in 1996, and the 54 percent approval rating for President Reagan in 1984 at the same point in the race ... coincidentally, the last two presidents to get re-elected to a second term.
Both of those presidents were re-elected by wide margins. In fact, no president with an approval rating above 50 percent as late as August has ever lost a presidential election.
Vice President Cheney (search) has slammed John Kerry for saying he'd fight a "more sensitive" war on terror, but it turns out Republicans have a "sensitive" side too. The Pro-Kerry "American Progress Action Fund" apparently searched years of speeches to find any instance in which anyone associated with the administration actually used the word sensitive.
They found Attorney General John Ashcroft once said he's, "sensitive about interfering in the internal politics of other countries." And that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers said the army is, "sensitive to cultural issues."
They even included testimony from Chief Master Sergeant Robert Martens, who said special forces, "offer a seasoned, culturally sensitive war on terrorism." And while his comments didn't exactly fit the theme, they found Vice President Cheney saying he was not, insensitive, to the burden U.S. troops place on local communities.
On John’s Boat?
John Kerry's campaign staff dismisses critics of his war record by saying that none of his detractors served on Kerry's swift boat in Vietnam. But questions are now arising over whether Kerry's most vocal defender, and the man whose life he saved in Vietnam, was himself on that boat.
In the Wall Street Journal this week, Jim Rassmann wrote that a mine blast -- "blew me off John's swift boat," into the river, where Kerry heroically pulled him to safety under heavy fire. But a press release from Kerry's Website claims that Rassmann, "was traveling down the Bay Hap river in a boat behind Kerry's when both were ambushed."
Bank Account Blues
National Reform Party treasurer William Chapman says the former party of Ross Perot has just $18.18 in the bank, and he's telling federal election officials that the party should be terminated.
Chapman charged Reform leaders with failing to foster, "philosophical alignment among members," but party chairman Shawn O'Hara says Chapman doesn't speak for them. The party has endorsed Ralph Nader for president, but Chapman says any federal action will not affect Nader's candidacy.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report