How One Journalist Defines a 'Staunch Republican'

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Republican Defector?

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jennifer Hunter is taking he at for a recent story headlined "GOP Lawyer Sold on Dems." She wrote that after watching the top Democratic presidential candidates speak —one "staunch republican" lawyer said he will not vote for anyone from the GOP in 2008.

But federal election contribution records show the so-called "staunch republican" — Philadelphia attorney Jim Ronca — actually has contributed overwhelmingly to Democrats since 1994 — giving them more than $10,000 — to $1,250 for Republicans.

Hunter — who is married to the publisher of the Sun-Times — subsequently blamed the headline writer for emphasizing the Republican lawyer angle and critical readers for making the contributions an issue.

Keep It Clean

The increasingly nasty discourse on some web blogs has led the creator of the popular liberal site Daily Kos to warn his contributors to knock it off.

Markos Moulitsas writes his patience is wearing thin with what he calls "an alarming rise in diaries and comments that seek to impugn (without evidence) the motives of those they disagree with on various issues."

He refers to the comments as — "so damn ugly" — and says they are a serious threat to the site. Meanwhile the Wonkette blog is being taken to task for a posting that referred to "Rudy Jew-liani" in an interview with the "Jew York Times."

A rival blogger observed — "Wonkette, that foul-mouthed but titillating blogger of Washington foibles, seems to have gone anti-Semitic."

Wonkette has demanded an apology and implied legal action if one is not forthcoming.

Newt Unplugged

Newt Gingrich says the Republican presidential field is a "pathetic" bunch of "pygmies" — and compares the debate experience to "standing like a trained seal, waiting for someone to throw me a fish." The Washington Examiner reports Gingrich told a breakfast crowd that MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who hosted a Republican debate in May is — "an utterly irrelevant shallow television celebrity (who) doesn't know anything."

He calls Al Gore "not in touch with reality" — and columnist Robert Novak "venomous."

Gingrich says he'll decide whether to join the "pygmies" in the fall — but says — "I have no interest in trying to figure out how I can go out and raise money under John McCain's insane censorship rules so I can show up and do seven minutes and twenty seconds at some debate."

Watch for the Union Label

On any given weekday here in Washington you can see several construction sites being adorned with picketers protesting the use of non-union labor.

But the Washington Post reports many of the picketers are not even union members — but homeless people, retirees or students being paid slightly more than minimum wage — with no benefits.

The Post says carpenters unions across the country are using this tactic — which is not going over well with some of their union brethren. And advocates for the homeless say the unions are taking advantage of the unfortunate instead of helping them.

Says one shelter official — "These jobs won't pay the rent. If they're out there every day Monday through Friday, when are they looking for a job?"

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