Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

GOP Gains

The number of Americans identifying themselves as Republicans jumped nearly two percentage points in December and is at its highest level since January of 2006.

Rasmussen Reports says Republicans have rebounded from a 30.8 percent market share in May — to 34.2 percent now. Meanwhile, Democrats have fallen to 36.3 percent — down from a high of 37.8 in February.

The 2.1 percent gap between the parties is the smallest in two years in Rasmussen's polling — down from a high of 6.9 percent a year ago.

Being Neighborly

The immediate neighbor that Elizabeth Edwards accused of being a "rabid, rabid Republican" and having "slummy" property has moved out. Monty Johnson owned 42 acres across the road from John and Elizabeth Edwards' $6 million mansion near Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Last spring Mrs. Edwards said Johnson scared her — "I don't want my kids anywhere near some guy who when he doesn't like somebody, the first thing he does is pull a gun out."

Johnson has sold his land for $1.6 million and moved away. But the new owner agreed to a stipulation that Johnson's "Go Rudy Giuliani 2008" sign must stay up as long as Giuliani remains in the race.

Black and White Issue

An African-American teacher in Savannah, Georgia who writes columns for a local newspaper is taking issue with people who refer to Bill Clinton as the nation's first black president. Some civil rights leaders have said that about Mr. Clinton over the years.

But Geveryl Robinson writes Clinton's welfare reform and crime bills were very harmful to blacks — resulting in substandard employment and increased incarceration — "Clinton wasn't exactly the poster child for black empowerment."

She also criticizes him for his failure to stop genocide in Rwanda. "Bill Clinton not only refused to intervene to save over one million people from being hacked to death, but he even declined to convene his Cabinet to discuss the crisis." And she writes — "I liken Bill Clinton to pork. He's the 'other white meat' that black people have been fooled to believe is better for them, just because he happens to have a little more flavor."

Lodging Expenses

And a British man who spent three years in prison after being falsely accused of rape — will have to pay about $25,000 for his room and board while incarcerated.

The Daily Mail reports Warren Blackwell was accused of raping a woman who turned out to be a serial accuser. He was awarded a half-million dollars as compensation for lost earnings — but will have his living expenses deducted from the total. Now his lawyer says he would probably use up the rest of the settlement if he continued to fight the charges.

Says Blackwell — "If murderers and robbers don't get charged for their time in the clanger, how come an innocent man does? It doesn't make sense and it is plain discrimination."

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