(CNN) – Sarah Palin had some rare praise Thursday for President Obama after the president delivered his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo. But the former Republican vice presidential nominee added that she would like to see the president act more like his predecessor, George W. Bush.
"I liked what he said," Palin told USAToday in an interview after the speech.
Palin said the president's remarks had a familiar ring. "I thumbed through my book quickly this morning to say 'Wow! That really sounded familiar.' because I talked in book too about the fallen nature of man and why war is necessary at times."
Related: War sometimes justified, Obama says
But Palin suggested Obama could learn a few things from former President Bush.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Only about 4% of troubled borrowers have received long-term help under the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program, Treasury officials said Thursday.
A nearly equal number of trial modifications have been denied permanent assistance, the report showed. The reasons include not making monthly payments on time, not submitting all the necessary paperwork and not qualifying for reasons such as insufficient income.
The report, the first comprehensive tally of permanent modifications made, shows that loan servicers have converted 31,382 people from trial adjustments to long-term assistance as of Nov. 30.
But 30,650 people in trial modifications have been denied, according to Treasury officials.
Washington (CNN) - House Democrats are pushing back against GOP claims that Rep. Brian Baird's decision to not seek re-election signals that the party in power is in store for a drubbing in 2010.
With his announcement Wednesday, Baird, a six-term Congressman from Washington state, became the third Democrat this year to announce plans to retire. Six other House Democrats are leaving at the close of the 111th Congress to seek another office.
The National Republican Congressional Committee heralded Baird's decision as a sign that "Democrat incumbents are feeling the ground shaking underneath them" as they head into the next cycle.
Not so fast, argues Ryan Rudominer of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Rudominer pointed out that at this time in 2007, roughly one year before the GOP took a beating for the second straight election cycle, 15 House Republicans had announced their retirement. Three more Republicans had chosen to leave their seats in pursuit of higher office.
"All year long, national Republicans have predicted a tidal wave of Democratic retirements and just like they falsely predicted winning last month in a seat that had been Republican since the Civil War, we haven't seen anything like the number of Republican retirements at this point last cycle," Rudominer said in an e-mail.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) - Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on Thursday that he had no choice but to pay top dollar to business partners of troubled insurer AIG to avert a deeper financial panic last year.
Geithner defended regulators' actions to prop up American International Group (AIG, Fortune 500) with $62.1 billion that was essentially funneled to 16 banks that were counterparties to AIG insurance contracts.
"I don't understand why this is so complicated," Geithner told the Congressional Oversight Panel at a hearing on Capitol Hill. "You either prevent default, because default would be cataclysmic – or you don't. If you selectively default on any, the thing will come crashing down."
(CNN) - Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich praised President Obama's acceptance speech Thursday before the Nobel Committee in Oslo.
"I thought the speech was actually very good," Gingrich told NPR's The Takeaway. "He clearly understood that he had been given the prize prematurely, but he used it as an occasion to remind people, first of all, as he said: that there is evil in the world."
The comments mark the second time in a month that Gingrich has given President Obama's performance a positive nod. Following the president's speech at West Point, Gingrich said the decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan "took considerable courage."
Washington (CNN) - The White House says its review of a long-standing policy not to send condolence letters to the families of military suicide victims should "hopefully" conclude "shortly."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president himself asked for the review, with Gibbs telling reporters at the White House briefing on Wednesday, "If the president didn't care, the policy would remain unchanged and unexamined."
The protocol dates as far back as the Clinton administration. But now, some military families, including the Keesling family of Indiana, believe the policy needs to be changed.
Washington (CNN) - Outspoken Rep. Alan Grayson has a message for blunt-speaking former Vice President Dick Cheney: stop talking.
Responding to the former VP’s criticism of President Obama’s national security policy, including his decision to try accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court, the Florida Democrat lapsed into Web-speak.
“You know, on the internet there's an acronym that's used to apply to situations like this. It's called ‘STFU,’” Grayson said on MSNBC’s Hardball. “I don't think I can say that on the air, but I think you know what that means.” The letters are an acronym for “shut the f*** up.”
Cheney has been a vocal critic of the president’s policies, telling Fox News earlier this week that the extended decision-making process on Afghanistan “feeds into sort of the basic al Qaeda strategy” by fueling a sense of uncertainty on the future direction of U.S. involvement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled her willingness Thursday to consider a health care bill that lacks a government-run public health insurance option.
Pelosi has previously insisted the public option was necessary for House approval of a health care bill. Last month, the House passed its version of the sweeping health care measure that includes the public option.
However, Senate Democrats agreed this week on a tentative deal to drop the public option from their health care bill in order to ensure the measure can pass the chamber.
Under a proposed alternative, the Senate bill would permit private insurers to offer non-profit coverage overseen by the government and expand the Medicare program for senior citizens to allow people as young as 55 to buy in.
Pelosi, D-California, at her weekly news conference said she wants to get the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate alternative before judging it, but she opened the door to a final bill without the public option.
"We in the House believe that the public option is the best way to keep insurance companies honest and also to increase competition," Pelosi said, adding: "If you have a better way, put it on the table."
Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $447 billion spending bill that funds several Cabinet departments and other agencies for the 2010 budget year - money needed to keep government funded after next week.
The omnibus bill, which combined six separate appropriations measures for 2010, passed on a 221-202 vote with no Republican support. It would succeed an existing resolution funding the federal government that expires on December 18.
It also authorizes about $600 billion in mandatory federal spending on government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, funding that is set by formula and cannot be altered by Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the spending legislation included measures to help create jobs by expanding small-business access to capital and credit, and investing in infrastructure development and clean energy. She called it fiscally responsible, noting it was "below the president's budget request."
"In these tough budgetary times, we have made tough choices," said Pelosi, D-California.
The bill would fund non-defense government agencies, including the Transportation Department, State Department, Veterans Affairs, Department of Commerce and Department of Justice, for the fiscal year that started October 1. A separate defense spending bill will be considered next week, Pelosi said.
Republicans denounced the bill as bloated with wasteful spending, with House Minority Leader John Boehner saying, "We're broke," and arguing it was time to cut spending.