Set Saddam Free?

The latest from the Political Grapevine:

Set Saddam Free?

No sooner had the International Red Cross office in Baghdad said Saddam Hussein must -- under the laws of the Geneva Conventions -- be released if he's not charged before the June 30 handover, than the Red Cross headquarters in Geneva overruled its own Baghdad office and insisted the organization is -- "absolutely not" calling for Saddam's release.

The chief spokeswoman for the International Red Cross says the Geneva Conventions do call for detainees not charged by the end of an occupation to be released, but those laws don't apply to prisoners suspected of committing crimes. Saddam Hussein, of course, is expected to be charged with killing and torturing his own people.

Blanket Blockage

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he will now exercise his ability to block all of President Bush's nominees to the executive branch. Why? Well, Reid is trying to force Senate action on one of his own staffers, whom he nominated to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Nine months ago Democrats blocked a Republican nominee to the NRC, so Senate Public Works committee chairman James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, now says he won't approve Reid's nomination until it's coupled with a Republican one.

But Reid says he won't approve dozens of White House nominees until his is approved. Inhofe tells Roll Call he can live with open seats at the NRC -- "for a while."

Iraq's New Beginning

President Bush has said he wants to demolish Abu Ghraib prison -- an act, he's said, that would be a -- "fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning." But Iraq's new interim President, Ghazi Al-Yawer, says he's not willing to tear down Abu Ghraib.

Al-Yawer says that despite being a symbol of the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein, the prison cost more than $100 million to build and -- "we need every single dollar we have to rebuild our country instead of demolishing and rebuilding."

Poll Results

A new poll shows that if elections were held today, 42 percent of college students would vote for John Kerry, compared with 30 percent who would vote for President Bush. The poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates, shows that students majoring in most fields favor Kerry.

However, students majoring in science or math favor President Bush -- by a margin of 35 to 31 percent. And while most college students say Kerry would do a better job dealing with the costs of college education, significantly more say President Bush would do a better job than Kerry defending the country from future terrorist attacks.

FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report