Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
President Bush may be down in the polls — but he is still commander in chief of the armed forces and wields a veto pen that can stop Congress in its tracks. You might think that would make him an influential person. But TIME Magazine does not think so.
The magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" includes soccer player Thiery Henry, video game creator Shigeru Miyamoto and fashion designer Alber Elbaz. Usama bin Laden is there, along with Rosie O'Donnell, Raul Castro, Justin Timberlake and Kate Moss.
But the list does not include President Bush, though Queen Elizabeth made the cut.
Washington Post columnist David Broder, considered the dean of American political journalists, is under harsh attack from the left for a recent column in which he criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Broder, who is generally liberal, cited Reid's statement that the war in Iraq had been lost. Broder wrote — "Not since Bill Clinton famously pondered the meaning of the word 'is' has a Democratic leader confused things as much as Harry Reid did with his inept discussion of the alternatives in Iraq." And — "The Democrats deserve better, and the country needs more, than Harry Reid has offered as Senate Majority Leader."
50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus wrote a letter to the post defending their leader, saying, "The fact that Mr. Reid speaks his mind should be applauded, not derided."
Democratic activist Paul Begala called Broder "George W. Bush's housebroken lap-dog," and said his column was "a bed-wetting tantrum." Broder tells Editor & Publisher that he wouldn't change anything in his original column — and said tongue-in-cheek that he is "astonished and delighted" that the 50 Democratic senators "spontaneously" came up with their letter.
Democratic Congressman John Murtha Tuesday called the recent Washington visit of Iraq Multinational Forces Commander General David Petraeus a "purely political move."
He added — "Petraeus doesn't talk to any of us. He only talks to the news media and so forth trying to sell this program." Murtha later acknowledged that while Petraeus talked to "a group of members," he said he didn't talk to committees that act on military legislation.
In fact, Petraeus conducted two 90-minute top-secret level briefings to which all members of Congress were invited, and which 336 attended. Petraeus personally briefed Murtha and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a telephone call the previous day.
As far as his visit being political — a senior defense official tells Cybercast News — "Members of the military are inherently non-political. Moreover, General Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by this Senate. He is their man, reporting to them on operations in Iraq. There is nothing political about that."
The World Bank — nice work if you can get it. While some at the bank continue to call for the scalp of President Paul Wolfowitz because he helped his girlfriend get a transfer to a high-paying State Department job — The Wall Street Journal reports almost 1,400 bank employees have salaries higher than the $183,000/year earned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
17 percent of the bank's 10,000 employees are in a salary bracket that ranges from $170,000 to 232,000. And — for the many non-Americans who work at The World Bank — those salaries are tax-free.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.