And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:
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Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., one of the leaders of the movement to recall California's democratic governor, Gray Davis (search), pleaded guilty 30 years ago to possession of an unregistered gun, a misdemeanor. He recently dismissed the charge as involving "an unloaded... little teeny pistol." But the San Francisco (search) Chronicle reports the gun was a loaded .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol, accompanied by 44 bullets and a tear gas gun. Issa's spokesman explains the discrepancy by saying his boss was trying to describe a quote: "minor incident from 30 years ago to the best of his memory."
Recession in Recession?
This just in…the National Bureau of Economic Research (search) has announced that the recession ended in November, 2001…20 months ago. The NBER is the official arbiter of recessions, and says the slide began in March of 2001 and ended eight months later. The panel, alluding to a profusion of recent economic bad news, high unemployment rates and sluggish growth, says it "did not conclude economic conditions since [the end of the recession] have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity."
Misrepresenting the Statistics?
There was a lot of buzz in Washington earlier this week about a column penned by venerable sage and Washington Post columnist David Broder. Broder suggested that just one week ago today, "the dark shadow of defeat first crossed (George W. Bush's) political horizon. Exhibit A was a poll published by the Post and ABC. "Ominously the poll found a dramatic reversal in public tolerance of continuing casualties, with a majority saying for the first time that the losses were unacceptable when weighed against the goals of the war." The only problem with the analysis was that it was wrong: Although the survey showed 80 percent of the public was worried about the possibility of getting bogged down in a "long and costly peacekeeping mission," the poll also showed that 72 percent said the U.S. ought to stay in Iraq, even if it means "continued U.S. military casualties," and 74 percent expected "a significant number of additional U.S. military casualties."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report