Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Members of the European Parliament in Brussels were shaking their heads today after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton incorrectly said U.S. democracy is older than Europe's. Clinton compared Europe's multi-party political system to our two-party version: "It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."
Europeans trace their Democratic tradition back thousands of years to the days of classical Greece. Later Secretary Clinton raised eyebrows again when she mispronounced the names of two of her EU counterparts.
Thursday we told you that the Treasury Department is seriously understaffed. Now The Wall Street Journal reports candidates for two top jobs there have withdrawn their names from consideration.
Annette Nazareth was expected to be named deputy treasury secretary and Caroline Atkinson was being considered to oversee international affairs. The reason? Much tighter vetting by the Obama administration due to several embarrassments on key nominees. The Journal says the process dragged on for weeks and included several rounds of intense questioning.
What's the Word?
It seems much of the media is not referring to the man accused of killing Capitol Hill intern Chandra Levy in 2001 as an "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant" even though he is in the country illegally. The Washington Times reports CBS, CNN and The Associated Press describe Ingmar Guandique either a "Salvadoran immigrant" or a "laborer from El Salvador." Other media accounts call him an "incarcerated felon," "suspect," or "jailed attacker."
FOX News is not escaping criticism on this. Although Bill O'Reilly has referred to Guandique as an "illegal alien," the report points out that FOX newscasts, including this one, have used the term "Salvadoran immigrant." We apologize for not being more precise.
And Thursday we reported British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave President Obama a pen holder carved from the timbers of a British ship and a first edition biography of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill when he was here this week. Brown also showered gifts on the president's daughters.
So what did President Obama give Brown? A "special collector's box" of 25 DVDs. British media report the prime minister's office declined to say what movies were included, although they are thought to be American favorites such as "The Godfather" and "Star Wars." Several British media outlets are citing anonymous aides saying the gift left many puzzled. The London Evening Standard says: "One reason for the secrecy might be that the gift seems markedly less generous and thoughtful than the presents taken to Washington by the prime minister."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.