Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Pale In Comparison

New York Times executive editor Bill Keller is comparing his paper's efforts to stay afloat to the cause of starving African refugees. Keller says: "Saving The New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause."

The Times has begun negotiations with the Newspaper Guild over ways to save money. The company is said to be asking the union to accept a five percent pay cut or lose up to 80 jobs. But the guild argues the company has not done enough to eliminate unnecessary managerial positions.

Funny Business?

Democratic state senators in Colorado moved up a vote on a proposal to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants to coincide with a Republican opponent's absence.

GOP Senator Ted Harvey had to care for his ailing father-in-law, but was scheduled to return in time for today's Appropriations Committee vote. His opposition would have killed the legislation.
So the committee's Democratic chairman moved the vote to Wednesday. Without Harvey's vote, the bill passed and moved on to the Senate floor. Outraged Republicans said Democrats took advantage of Harvey's difficult personal circumstances. Passage out of committee was considered the bill's biggest hurdle.

Senator Harvey tells FOX: "It's rather typical of the Democratic Party. They hold control of both chambers in Colorado and are utilizing the system to push through their left-wing agenda."

Poll Position

President Obama Thursday repeated his suspicions about relying on polling, saying, "as you know I always mistrust polls."

But the Politico newspaper reports that polling has become increasingly important in shaping the White House message. The report states that the president is relying on the work of two pollsters and a focus group expert. A source familiar with the data says: "The pace (of polling) is picking up."

Presidents have long denounced using polls while privately conducting them. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton relied on them. President George W. Bush cut back on the practice, but former White House staffers say he still used them from time to time.

Going Overboard?

And finally, has the media gone gaga over the first lady? Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post writes: "The Michelle gush-a-thon is growing louder by the day... this first lady has generated endless media chatter about everything from her sleeveless dresses to her vegetable garden." He says this week's coverage feels "over the top" — noting that ABC's Diane Sawyer said Mrs. Obama, "has already created a sensation." He says NBC's Meredith Vieira added, "Everybody in Europe is enthralled by her." While Katie Couric at CBS said — "She's a real breath of fresh air... she's a beautiful woman, stylish without being pretentious." CNN's, Richard Quest said: "Michelle Obama is an absolutely extraordinary woman in an extraordinarily ordinary way... She's taken the city by storm."

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.