Bush Avoids Virginia Road Rage

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Nagin Not in a New York State of Mind?

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin may have been re-elected in New Orleans, but he might have a hard time winning any popularity contests in New York City.

During a tour of New Orleans with CBS News, a reporter pointed out there were still many flood-damaged homes and cars throughout the city. Nagin responded by saying: "That's alright. You guys in New York can't get a hole in the ground fixed and it's five years later."

Nagin says the quote was taken out of context and accused CBS of releasing it just to promote the broadcast.

Chavez Blasts Israel

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is blasting Israel for committing what he calls "genocide" in Lebanon, comparing Israel to Adolf Hitler.

On a six-day visit to China Chavez said, "Israel often criticizes Hitler, but they have done the same thing, perhaps even worse."

He also denounced Israel's "fascist attitudes" saying the country "must be brought in front of an international tribunal."

Cross Controversy Continues

Supporters of San Diego's Mount Soledad cross thought they'd seen the last of a 17-year legal battle over whether the war memorial's presence on city property violated the separation of church and state after President Bush signed ownership of the cross over to the Defense Department earlier this month.

But the fight isn't over for the ACLU. The group has sued the government on behalf of Jewish War Veterans, saying the cross is equally unconstitutional no matter who owns the land.

But supporters say they'll have a better chance of winning the case under federal law.

Presidential Request Denied

You may be the president of the United States — the leader of the free world — but that apparently doesn't give you the authority to mess with D.C.'s already nightmarish traffic.

The Secret Service asked the Commonwealth of Virginia to close high occupancy lanes along I-395 from 1 to 7 p.m. so President Bush could get to and from a fundraiser for Virginia Sen. George Allen.

State experts responded that as many as 22,000 people would be stranded in the mother of all evening rush-hour traffic jams which wouldn't begin to clear up until 10 p.m.

After a daylong back and forth of e-mails, the Secret Service was apparently convinced that angering a good many Virginia motorists in the name of fundraising for a Virginia candidate did not make good political sense. The president choppered to the event.

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.