Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is slated to speak at a high-profile Republican conference with 2012 implications, organizers announced Monday.
The Southern Republican Leadership Conference announced Monday morning that Gingrich will address the event, which takes place April 8-11 in New Orleans. The conference is a major gathering of Republican candidates, donors and activists from 14 Southern states.
The SRLC announced last week that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, another possible contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, would speak at the event. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also considered a potential White House hopeful, will also speak at SRLC, a source close to Pawlenty confirms to CNN. A senior adviser to Mitt Romney, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who may make another run in 2012, tells CNN that the former Massachusetts governor will not attend the conference.
Political watchers will be paying close attention to the SRLC conference, and not just because several potential presidential candidates are expected to attend. The SRLC - "the most prominent Republican event outside of a Republican National Convention," the organization boasts - also conducts a presidential straw poll.
Washington (CNN) - In a sit-down interview at the White House with CNN Political Contributor Roland Martin, President Obama defended embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for describing Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
"This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history," the president said in an interview taped Monday for TV One.
"For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense," Obama said. "He's apologized, recognizing that he didn't use appropriate language. But there was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say and he's always been on the right side of the issues."
In the interview, Obama also described Reid as "a friend of mine" who has "been a stalwart champion of voting rights, civil rights."
President Obama will join Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a campaign event next month. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will join Harry Reid in Nevada next month to campaign on behalf of the Senate Majority Leader, a senior administration official tells CNN.
Related: Reid's political future up in the air after 'Negro' comment?
–CNN's Dan Lothian and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The White House is considering a tax on financial institutions to ensure that taxpayers who bailed out banks get paid back, a senior administration official said Monday.
The law that created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program empowered the president to ask Congress to recoup money if bailouts were not paid back in full.
TARP dictates that the Office of Management and Budget consider such action five years after TARP went into effect in October 2008 to prevent the federal bailout from adding to the deficit.
When the TARP bill was hastily debated, the provision was key to winning enough support from wary lawmakers to push the bill through Congress.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, would not discuss how a possible bank fee would fit into Obama's fiscal year 2011 budget, which is set to be released next month. "When it comes back from Kinko's, we'll be able to talk about it," he said.
But Gibbs said it is the president's "goal" to ensure the "money that taxpayers put up will be paid back in full."
Washington (CNN) - Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has signed a deal with Fox News to appear as a contributor on the network, a source with knowledge of the agreement confirms to CNN.
There are no plans for Palin to anchor her own program, the source said.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, is considered to be a potential 2012 White House contender.
Washington (CNN) -President Obama and the first lady will travel to Wilmington, Delaware Tuesday to attend the funeral mass for the vice president's mother, the White House announced Monday.
Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan Biden, died Friday at the family's home in Wilmington,
"At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves," Vice President Biden said in a statement Friday announcing his mother's death.
The vice president's father, Joseph Robinette Biden Sr., who was married to Jean Biden for 61 years, died in 2002.
Responding to the controversy surrounding a newly published remark he made privately about Obama's race in 2008, Reid sought to emphasize his long-standing support for the nation's first African-American president.
"I can still remember the meeting that took place in my office with Sen. Barack Obama, telling him that I think he can be elected president," Reid said.
Obama "was kind of surprised that the Democratic leader was calling this new senator over to suggest that he could be elected president," he added.
He said numerous prominent African-American officials, including NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and Attorney General Eric Holder, have called him to offer support in the wake of the controversy that began on the weekend.
"I've apologized to everyone with the sound of my voice that I could have used a better choice of words," he told reporters after an event announcing a new energy project in his home state. "And I'll continue doing my work for the African-American community."
Washington (CNN) – Gov. John Hoeven will announce Monday evening that he is running for the open Senate seat in North Dakota, one week after Sen. Byron Dorgan revealed he would retire, a Republican source with knowledge of the GOP governor's plans confirms to CNN.
Dorgan's decision to retire after serving three terms in the Senate makes Hoeven an early favorite to win the election and put the seat back in the Republican column. Dorgan was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and currently serves as chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee.
Hoeven, a popular governor first elected in 2000, is expected to make the announcement at the Bismarck Area Republican District Convention being held in the state capital.
Follow Mark Preston on Twitter: @prestoncnn