And in other news ...

No word from Cheney yet, but there's news on Abramoff, Libby, the polls and Hamas.

Published February 14, 2006 2:38PM (EST)

Dick Cheney's hunting accident ought to be grist for at least one more news cycle -- will the vice president ever come forward with his side of the story? -- but it's not just Cheney's Italian-made Perazzi shotgun that's causing news today:

Abramoff and Rove: The Associated Press is reporting that three former associates of disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff say he frequently told them that he had close ties to Karl Rove, the president's top political advisor and deputy chief of staff. A White House spokeswoman says that Rove remembers meeting Abramoff at a political event in the 1990s and that he'd describe him as a "casual acquaintance" since then. If recent history is any guide, prepare for the backsliding to begin almost immediately.

Libby and Plame: According to a just-released transcript from a Feb. 3 court hearing, prosecutors in the Valerie Plame case are trying to strike a deal with Scooter Libby -- to get his help in deciphering his handwriting. Patrick Fitzgerald told the court that Libby's handwritten notes have "a little bit of hieroglyphics in there, and so what we have to do is translate them so we can tell the intelligence agencies what their content is so we can figure out how sensitive it is."

The president's poll numbers: Remember all the talk about how the State of the Union speech was aimed at turning around public perceptions of a troubled presidency? Oh, well. A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll puts George W. Bush's approval rating at 39 percent, a three-point drop from earlier in the month.

The transformative power of democracy: The New York Times reports that the United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the newly elected Palestinian government so that Hamas officials will fail and elections will have to be called again.

Paul Hackett and the Democrats: Bowing to what he said was pressure from the Democratic Party, Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett announced that he's dropping out of the race for the U.S. Senate in Ohio so that longtime Rep. Sherrod Brown can challenge Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine in November. Hackett characterized the pressure on him as a "betrayal," and he said he'd refuse Democrats' requests that he run for a second time against Rep. Jeanne Schmidt instead.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Dick Cheney War Room