Tough Talk From Chirac

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Americans are always debating the proper response to terrorists, but we're unlikely to come up with a tougher threat than French President Jacques Chirac has. He's warning that France is prepared to launch a so-called "tactical" nuclear strike on any state that sponsors a terrorist attack against France.

Speaking at a nuclear submarine base, Chirac noted that France has reduced the number of warheads on some of the missiles the subs carry, which would limit destruction to smaller areas. So he said, "our choice is not between inaction and destruction" and French forces now have the flexibility to "respond directly against the centers of power."

Though some critics complained about the threats, Chirac said state-sponsored terrorism has replaced threats of the Cold War era when France and other nations built nuclear weapons to deter attacks.

Reid Apologizes to Republicans

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has issued an apology for pointing to 33 Republican senators as examples of GOP corruption. In a 27-page document entitled "Republican Abuse of Power," Reid criticized lawmakers for ties to disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but also attacked some senators with no links to Abramoff for purported offenses that took place before they came to Congress.

Reid now says the document, released in his name, went too far and apologized saying, "I myself have been the subject of similar personal attacks from Republican outlets...[and] understand the unfair picture they can paint and the pain they cause."

Political Integrity?

Former President Jimmy Carter says he's encouraged by the participation of Hamas in next week's Palestinian elections because the terrorist organization has political integrity.

Carter told CNN that Hamas may consist of "so-called terrorists," but added "there have been no complaints of corruption against [their] elected officials."

Carter conceded that some in Hamas "deny Israel's right to exist," but defended the group's legitimacy as a political party.

Super Scoop

In a report on the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, Purdue University's student newspaper noted that Alito "told senators that good judges don't have an agenda, don't look for partisan outcomes and always 'do what the law requires'." Then the paper quoted him as saying "a judge can't have a preferred outcome in any particular case..." Then the article went on to say, "His motive for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981, remains unclear."

Clearly a mistake, but, hey, maybe that’s why some Democrats have decided to vote against him.

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report