Times Still Defends Controversial MoveOn Ad

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Not Moving On

The New York Rimes is rejecting criticism from its public editor regarding the now-famous MoveOn.org ad impugning General David Petraeus.

Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis takes issue with times public editor Clark Hoyt who wrote Sunday that the ad, "appears to fly in the face of an internal advertising acceptability manual that says, 'We do not accept opinion advertisements that are attacks of a personal nature.'"

Mathis responds: "The public editor serves as the reader's representative — his opinions and conclusions are his own. The Times believes the ad was within our acceptability guidelines." She does not explain why the ad is not an attack of a personal nature, but she does not deny the rate charged MoveOn was a mistake. She says it was not the result of bias because, "The salesperson did not see the content of the ad at the time the rate was quoted."

MoveOn says it has paid The Times an additional $77,508 — the difference between the regular rate and the discounted rate MoveOn was charged.

Ferry Tale

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's campaign is distancing itself from supporters who harassed fellow candidate Rudy Giuliani Friday night on the Mackinac Island Ferry in Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press reports dozens of Paul enthusiasts taunted Giuliani by saying "9/11 was an inside job." A witness says the group threatened to throw Giuliani overboard and he took refuge in the ferry's pilothouse.

A Paul spokesman says the candidate does not think 9/11 was an inside job and a Giuliani spokesman says his man was not intimidated and welcomes verbal jousting.

Bad Career Move?

Remember Lynne Stewart, the disbarred lawyer who was convicted of conspiring with and supporting terrorists along with lying to and defrauding the U.S. government? She was sentenced to 28 months in prison and is out on bail pending appeal. Now she has been invited to speak at the Hofstra Law School's upcoming conference on ethics, entitled "Lawyering at the Edge."

Stewart's is one of several names on the school's Web site, under the description "prominent experts in the field of ethics, as well as preeminent criminal defense and civil rights practitioners."

The Word Is Out

Consumer demand for hybrid vehicles is down because shoppers are becoming aware that many models actually are no more efficient than those relying solely on gasoline-powered engines. ABC's Web site reports the average mileage of hybrid vehicles available in the U.S. is 33 miles-per-gallon, but much of that comes from very small cars.

Chevrolet's new Silverado hybrid truck gets only 16 miles-per-gallon and the new Lexis hybrid sedan gets twenty-one. As a result, a new survey by J.D. Power finds only 50 percent of new vehicle shoppers are considering a hybrid, down from 57 percent a year ago.

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