Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Reasons for Ratings?

A new CBS poll shows the president's job approval rating has hit an all time low of 35 percent and 68 percent of respondents tell CBS that the country is on the wrong track. CBS cites the Iraq war, the Libby indictment, and the response to Hurricane Katrina as reasons for the decline, but the poll's weighted sample may be more telling.

Twenty-eight percent of those polled identified themselves as Republicans, compared to 35 percent who said they were Democrats. But CBS dropped the importance of Republican responses even further weighting the sample so that Republican responses counted for only 24 percent of the final results. Thirty-seven percent of voters in last year's election called themselves Republicans, while 37 percent said they were Democrats, and 26 percent called themselves Independents.

Dems Defend Racial Smears

Maryland's white Democratic Party chairman is defending racial attacks on black lieutenant governor and Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele. Terry Lieberman tells The Washington Times he stands behind comments like those by black Baltimore Democrat Salima Siler Marriott, who justified campaign tactics like a recent Web ad depicting Steele in blackface because Steele's conservative views are "not in the best interest of the masses of black people."

Senate candidate and former NAACP director Kweisi Mfume has condemned the racial attacks, but an aide says calling Steele an "Uncle Tom," or pelting him with Oreo cookies — black on the outside and white on the inside — is simply "pointing out the obvious".

Roe v. Wade Safe Under Sam?

Judges who have served with Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito say he is unlikely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade because of his faithful adherence to precedent. Five current or former judges from Alito's 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals tell the Associated Press that Alito would likely favor new abortion restrictions that might have been opposed by outgoing justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

But former judge Timothy Lewis, an appointee of the first President Bush who typically sided with liberal court members, says Alito, "faithfully showed a deference and deep respect for precedent." And Senior Judge Leonard Garth, a Nixon appointee, says flat out "Sam is not going to overturn Roe v. Wade."

Peace Vets' Parade Ban

Organizers of Milwaukee's Veterans Day Parade have banned the local Veterans for Peace chapter from the event. Parade organizer Mary Ann D'Acquisto removed the anti-war group for trying to use the parade to further their political agenda. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports Veterans for Peace leader John Zutz says veterans who carry the American flag in the parade also would be making political statements and attacked parade organizers for "choosing which political statements are correct and which are incorrect." D'Aquisto, however, says, "all we want to do is honor the veterans."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report