Did John Edwards Vote to Authorize the Iraq war for Political Reasons?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Decision Disclosed

Veteran Democratic consultant Bob Shrum, who advised both John Edwards and John Kerry during the 2004 Presidential cycle, says Edwards was disinclined to vote to authorize the Iraq war, but was talked into doing so for political reasons.

In a book to be published in June, parts of which were obtained by the AP, Shrum describes a meeting in Edwards' Washington living room in the fall of 2002. He says the Senator was leaning against voting to authorize force in Iraq and that his wife was strongly against it.

But Shrum says he and other advisers argued that Edwards, as a freshman Senator, would appear unserious about national security, if he voted no and that Edwards reluctantly went along.

Edwards says he has "no idea" what Shrum is talking about and that his vote was a mistake but not a political calculation.

Weak Reid?

And speaking of political calculation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is described as reacting to an online poll by a left-wing Web site when he gave in to pressure to agree to canceling the Democratic party debate co-sponsored by FOX News.

The Politico newspaper says it all happened during a conference call last Thursday between Reid and a group of liberal bloggers. Reid had previously called the planned FOX debate "great news," but the bloggers were strongly opposed and one of them told him that his straw poll standing on the far-left Daily Kos Web site had dropped from 80 percent to the forties.

Reid then declared that, "I don't like Fox News," and claimed he had nothing to do with the original decision. By that night, the debate was cancelled.

Bracing for '08 Bid

Rudy Giuliani has given up some of his business connections as he mounts a presidential campaign but he remains a partner in the growing law firm of Bracewell and Giuliani.

One of the firm's clients is CITGO, the oil company wholly owned by the government of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. The Giuliani firm represents CITGO in Texas.

The Giuliani campaign says the former New York Mayor regards Chavez as "no friend of the United States," but did not answer a question from Bloomberg News about whether Giuliani knew of the CITGO work, and whether he considered it appropriate.

Hot Air Hog

Remember that story about the massive energy consumption by Al Gore's Tennesse mansion. It came to light through a tiny free-market think tank called the Tennesse Center for Policy Research, and spread quickly through the Internet to the national media.

But it now turns out that the esteemed Nashville Tennessean, perhaps the state's most influential paper, had been sitting on the story for a month. Tennessean editor Mark Silverman said the story "got put on the back burner simply because people were working on other stories."

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