Rudy's Bernie Problem

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

Former New York mayor and current Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani acknowledged Friday that he made a mistake by touting his former police commissioner Bernard Kerik to be President Bush's homeland security chief.

"The Mayor has said repeatedly it was a mistake to recommend Mr. Kerik for DHS," Giuliani's consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, said in a statement to The Associated Press.

That followed a New York Times report that Giuliani was told about Kerik's relationship with a company with suspected ties to organized crime as long ago as 2000, when he was considering Kerik for the city's top police spot.

The Times said Giuliani testified last year to a grand jury investigating Kerik that he was apparently briefed about Kerik's questionable business relationships, but that he could not recall the briefing.

That amounts to a "significantly new version" of what Giuliani may have known about Kerik. Giuliani had previously said he knew nothing of Kerik's involvement with the company before he elevated him to police commissioner or endorsed his unsuccessful bid for the homeland security post.

According to a transcript of his testimony, the Times says Giuliani "indicated that he must have simply forgotten that he had been briefed on one or more occasions as part of the background investigation of Mr. Kerik before his appointment to the police post."

Kerik pleaded guilty last summer to improperly allowing the company to do $165,000 worth of free renovations on his apartment.

How will all this play on the campaign trail? Giuliani's consulting company said he was not concerned that Kerik would become a liability. But the Times reports Giuliani's own aides are expecting questions to arise about Giuliani's judgment in supporting Kerik for one of the nation's top national security positions.

The War Over The War

The war in Iraq – and the war over the war in Washington – along with the prosecutor firings flap continue to dominate the front pages Friday.

The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times all have page-one stories on both the looming showdown between the president and Congress over Iraq, and yesterday's testimony by a former top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that Gonzales played a key role in the prosecutor dismissals – something the attorney general has denied.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, tops its "What's News" column with an item combining the latest violence in Iraq, which claimed over 100 lives Thursday, with the Senate's passage of a bill setting a deadline for a U.S. withdrawal.

USA Today features stories on the Senate vote and the prosecutor firings on pages 6A and 5A, respectively.

CSI: Wild Kingdom

After a brutal attack on a California hiker, authorities used DNA evidence to identify the culprit. What's unusual here? The attacker was a mountain lion.

The Los Angeles Times reports forensic specialists at the California Department of Fish and Game have formed "a kind of wildlife CSI team," using DNA to convict – or clear – animals suspected of attacking humans and livestock. They've also used DNA to track poachers, including those who've illegally harvested bear gallbladders and stolen sturgeon caviar from the Sacramento River.

In the case of the killer mountain lion, the DNA evidence may have saved both human and animal lives. While mountain lions rarely attack people, until the perpetrator was identified, officials "had to assume that a dangerous big cat was still at large."

In the meantime, all mountain lions in the area were in danger.

"If we don't get the right cat," said one state official, "then everyone out there will be packing guns and shooting cats and claiming self-protection."

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