The latest from the Political Grapevine:
Miami Herald reporters who conducted an independent recount in three heavily democratic Florida counties say that President Bush's lopsided victory there is legitimate. Critics have questioned the President's strong showing in the Florida panhandle (search), where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1.
But after reviewing more than 17,000 optical-scan ballots in northern Suwannee, Lafayette and Union counties, the Herald reporters conclude that charges of voter fraud are unfounded. In fact, while those three counties have long been overwhelmingly Democratic, they have reguarly voted for Republican presidential candidates, including Senator Bob Dole in 1996 and President Bush in 2000.
A new AP/Ipsos poll shows that 59 percent of Americans say President Bush should choose a Supreme Court (search) nominee who will uphold the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. But the AP questions distorted the Roe v. Wade ruling, telling participants it made abortion legal only in the first three months of pregnancy. The ruling actually allows no limits on abortion until nearly six months into pregnancy.
What's more, an article accompanying the poll implied that overturning Roe would ban abortion — when a repeal of Roe v. Wade would remove constitutional protection and put the issue in the hands of individual states.
Swift Boat Broke
The only Swift Boat Veteran for Truth (search) to serve on John Kerry's boat says his anti-Kerry stance cost him his job. Steve Gardner, who served as a gunner on Kerry's swift boat for four months, told Mary Laney of the Chicago Sun-Times that a representative from the Kerry campaign threatened to "look into his finances"after he spoke out against Kerry.
What's more, Gardner claims he was laid off from his job selling information technology to insurance companies — 24 hours after an article accusing him of being politically motivated was published online. Gardner says he's broke, but that if he had it to do over again, he would still speak out against Kerry.
Excuse their French
France's fight to slow the advance of the English language in French society continues. Last week, the government abandoned a plan requiring all elementary school students to learn "basic international English."
And ten years after a law making French usage mandatory in the workplace, technicians at a Paris branch of General Electric (search) have filed suit claiming they are illegally being forced to use English on the job. A Union spokesman tells the London Times that the pressure to use English in e-mails and even in meetings between French staff is "unacceptable," adding that French employees merely want English speaking management to "make an effort on their side."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report