Slipping Through the Cracks

If you focus too closely today on the third GOP presidential debate, the 30-month prison term of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby or the 16-count indictment of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), you will miss much more interesting political news, facts so fascinating I compiled a list. Let me know if you political junkies agree that this is a massive news day ...

1) Support for the new Democratic Congress is falling, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that found six weeks ago the new majority had a 24-point lead over Bush but that, without action on the Iraq war, those numbers have "collapsed to a dead heat."

2) A USA Today poll has presidential contenders Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) virtually tied.

3) Lynne Cheney could be a contender to replace Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), who died yesterday, based on interest she has expressed in the past.

4) Speaking of Dick Cheney, he and his boss have used one too many swear words that made it into the news. The New York Times reports today that a New York federal appeals court panel determined: "If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts."

5) Rudy Giuliani's abortion support ain't fooling all the social conservatives all the time. Providence's Catholic bishop Thomas J. Tobin called it "pathetic" and "hypocritical," and wrote in the Rhode Island Catholic, "I can just hear (Pontius) Pilate saying, 'You know, I'm personally opposed to crucifixion but I don't want to impose my belief on others."

6) Fred Thompson is blessed, politically anyway. Why, you ask? His almost-candidacy will of course consume the GOP debate tonight while he won't have to participate — and he gets LOTS of air time to assess the performance of rivals just afterwards on Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes." In addition, we learn today that Bush/Cheney world players are flocking to the camp of Big Fred — he even nagged the endorsement of George P. Bush, Dubya's handsome, Latino nephew, whom many Republicans fantasize will one day join the family business. But wait, I’m not finished. It sounds like conservative leader Paul Weyrich, not the easiest to please, will back Big Fred.

7) Evangelicals for Barack? Christian Broadcast Network's senior national correspondent writes today that "Barack Obama has a unique opportunity. He has crossover appeal. There may be some Evangelicals very much willing to listen to him because he wears his faith on his sleeve. Maybe he’ll enter The Brody File one day. I’ll say a prayer. God answers prayer." Hey Obama, just like Big Fred, you should count your political blessings.

8) Speaking of faith, it got Sen. Clinton through Bill's cheating, and she sometimes prays to lose weight, according to the New York Daily News.

What a day.