Is Voter Registration Really Up From Past Years?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Get Out the Vote?

Despite claims by various media outlets that new voter registration is up from previous years, a new Gallup survey says that is not the case.

The poll indicates just 13 percent of registered voters will cast ballots for the first time. That is the same number found in Gallup's 2004 pre-election poll. And the number of registered voters who say they do not plan to vote has actually risen two percentage points.

These findings come as The New York Times reports a claim by the voter registration group ACORN that it had signed up 1.3 million new voters is vastly exaggerated. The executive director of ACORN affiliate Project Vote says the actual figure is closer to 450,000. He says about 400,000 registrations were rejected because they were duplicates, incomplete or fraudulent.

Debatable Decision

Embattled Florida Democratic Congressman Tim Mahoney was a no-show at a scheduled debate with his Republican rival today, but the reason may surprise you.

Mahoney — who admitted to having at least two extramarital affairs while running on a platform of family values — refused to appear with Republican Tom Rooney because debate organizers would not ban television cameras.

The executive director of the host group said Mahoney’s people called Thursday night with its request, but that, "The media has every right to cover this event."

The Mahoney camp says it feared a circus-like atmosphere. Rooney participated in this afternoon's debate alongside Mahoney's empty chair.

A Horse in This Race?

Iran's parliamentary speaker says his country would prefer to see Barack Obama in the White House over John McCain. Ali Larijani says, "We are leaning more in favor of Barack Obama because he is more flexible and rational, even though we know American policy will not change that much."

Larijani also suggested the U.S. is too busy dealing with the current economic crisis to mount an attack on Tehran, saying, "I am 100 percent certain that the United States will not unleash a war against Iran. The economic crisis has cost the United States $1.4 trillion dollars and Washington is working to resolve its internal problems and not a war."

Getting Into the Act

The man who plays 007 says Senator Obama would make a better James Bond than Senator McCain.

Daniel Craig tells Parade Magazine, "Obama would be the better Bond because — if he's true to his word — he'd be willing to quite literally look the enemy in the eye and go toe-to-toe with them."

Craig says McCain could play M, who is James Bond's boss and is currently played by Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench, saying, "McCain, because of his long service and experience, would probably be a better M. There is — come to think of it — a kind of Judi Dench quality to McCain."

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.