The latest from the Political Grapevine:
Niger and Iraq Negotiated?
President Bush (search) has been called a — "liar" for saying last year that, according to British intelligence officers, Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium from Africa. But an investigation by the British government has now found that British intelligence officers were right to make the claim.
A report on the investigation, expected to be released next week, concludes that the claim was both reasonable and consistent with British intelligence, which indicates that the African country of Niger (search) negotiated with Iraq to sell it refined uranium.
However, according to the Financial Times, the investigation did find British Prime Minister Tony Blair's claim that Saddam could deploy chemical weapons within 45 minutes was inadequately supported by intelligence.
No Bounce from Edwards?
There's disappointing news for John Kerry (search) today from two new polls. A new AP-Ipsos poll shows a Bush-Cheney ticket beating a Kerry-Edwards ticket by a margin of 50 to 46 percent. And a new poll by Zogby International — whose results have recently tended to favor Democrats — shows no bounce for John Kerry after announcing his running mate.
The Zogby poll, taken in the two days since Kerry's announcement, shows John Kerry edging out President Bush by two percentage points, just as he did a month ago. In addition, the poll shows "20-somethings" and elderly voters prefer the Kerry-Edwards ticket, as do female voters and single voters. However, middle-aged voters, male voters, and married voters prefer the Bush-Cheney ticket.
A small group of gay rights activists is threatening to out gay congressmen and staffers who continue to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Activist John Aravosis told the New York Daily News he knows a handful of gay congressmen and senior aides who aren't open about their sexuality but — "think they can attack their community by day and enjoy themselves by night."
According to Roll Call newspaper, Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe has already received a call that one of his staffers is gay. The Gays, Lesbians and Allies Senate Staff Caucus, meanwhile, says it — "explicitly and forcefully condemns ... this outing campaign," calling it — "reckless, hateful and a very lazy form of activism."
Times' Take on It
The L.A. Times, as we noted last night, incorrectly reported that after the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq — "L. Paul Bremer III, the civilian administrator for Iraq, left without even giving a final speech to the country — almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year."
In fact, Bremer had addressed Iraqis in a message on Iraqi TV, which was covered by American media. Well, the L.A. Times has now addressed the error. With a correction? Not exactly. The L.A. Times today says — "[Bremer's] spokesman has since said that Bremer taped an address that was given to Iraqi broadcast media. The spokesman said the address was not publicized to the Western news media."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report