A Big-City Mayor Who Seems to Believe There's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Staying Positive

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin may be taking the idea of seeing a silver lining around a dark cloud —to the extreme. Nagin said last week that news of the city's escalating deadly violence is bad — but it does ensure that New Orleans will stay in the news.

"It's not good for us," Nagin said. "But it also keeps the 'New Orleans' brand out there, and it keeps people thinking about our needs and what we need to bring this community back. Sure it hurts, but we have to keep working every day to make the city better."

Anti-violence activist Baty Landis called the remarks "stunningly insensitive," adding, "New Orleans is not a brand, it's a city. We're not products. We're people with lives, some of which are being taken by other people."

Sick Call

French news reporters are making much of the fact that the wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy skipped a lunch Saturday with her husband — and President and Mrs. Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine. Cecilia Sarkozy reportedly called Laura Bush to apologize and said she was suffering from a sore throat.

However — the French media reported she was seen shopping with friends both Friday and Sunday — near the luxury lakeside residence where the Sarkozy's are vacationing.

Mrs. Sarkozy has a history of interesting behavior — from skipping out at the G8 Summit after the first day — to getting involved in the negotiations for the release of Bulgarian medics in Libya — to failing to vote during her husband's runoff election victory in May.

There have been rumors of marital problems and there was a brief separation in 2005. The French president says Mrs. Sarkozy will announce just what her plans are as first lady — next month.


Reuters news agency is admitting it was fooled when it released video from the movie Titanic — in its coverage of the recent Russian expedition to the Arctic sea.

It turns out a Russian state television channel incorporated this footage from the beginning of the movie — into its video coverage of the Arctic sea expedition. Reuters passed along the video to its clients — including FOX News — who unwittingly used it in their reports.

The whole thing might have gone unnoticed — except for a 13-year-old boy in Finland who made the connection — and called the local newspaper.

Numbers Game

There is a battle in Chicago over just how many homeless people are on the streets. Democratic Mayor Richard Daley says homelessness is down 12 percent the last two years — and Daley's government comes to a figure of just under 6,000 homeless on the streets.

But the Chicago Sun Times reports a 15 week foot patrol of the downtown area revealed a new number for how many people are sleeping outside each night — 24. That's right — just 24!

The housing commissioner says — "the public perception is it should have been a higher number, but we couldn't find it."

Homeless advocates are livid. The executive director of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless says the count is "ludicrous" — and says the city is trying to "sanitize" its image to bolster its chances of winning a bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.