And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from Special Report's "Political Grapevine."
Not to be ignored
Former Vice President Al Gore has accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner next month, a move The Washington Post said should "Let potential rivals or grousing Democrats know they shouldn't ignore him any longer." Iowa's caucuses, of course, are the first major event in the presidential primary season.
Meanwhile, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris will be in Iowa next month for two Republican fund raisers, and a top state Republican official said, "She's in demand right now. She's a high-profile Republican, and a lot of people want to meet her."
Giving Bush a complex
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Great Britain says President Bush is a man suffering from "two great complexes."
"One," wrote Ghazi Algosaibi, "is a desire to distinguish himself from his father," and the other "is to manage matters completely differently than his predecessor, the popular and beloved Bill Clinton."
The ambassador's comments came in a London Arabic newspaper, and it's unclear if they reflect the views of the Saudi Arabian government. This same ambassador, by the way, also wrote recently that Arab states should overcome their fear of an all-out war with Israel.
The naked truth in the Middle East
And speaking of war in the Middle East, Israeli officials are hooting at the latest Palestinian claim of unfair tactics by the Israeli military. A Gaza Strip weekly, which is an official organ of the Palestinian Authority, said a female Israeli soldier got on the front of a tank in front of rioting Palestinian youths and started taking her clothes off, urging the youths to drop their stones. When she got down to her underpants, the story said, she pulled out a gun and shot nine people, killing two of them.
"Totally ridiculous," said an Israeli military spokesman quoted by The Washington Times.
Making a charitable choice
Most Democrats who oppose a Bush tax cut are planning to deposit their refund checks, but several are letting it be known they don't plan to keep the money. The Hill newspaper says only West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd has said he's sending his money back to the government.
Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, for example, says she'll give hers to charity. And Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York says he'll buy prescription drugs for his father since Congress has not passed a Medicare drug benefit.
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