(CNN) - Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is not backing down from her criticisms over the National Organization for Women's demand that CBS cease from airing a pro-life commercial during the Superbowl.
"For a pro-life, pro-woman, pro-family ad to be seen as offensive and not empowering women is puzzling," Palin told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Thursday. "It makes you wonder what is NOW afraid of?"
The ad in question is paid for by the conservative political action group Focus on the Family and features Heisman-winning college quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, discussing her decision not to have an abortion even though doctors recommended it at the time. Deciding against an abortion, she gave birth to Tim, who grew up to be an all-star quarterback at the University of Florida and perhaps one of the best college quarterbacks of all time.
Several abortion rights groups have taken issue with the ad, saying the Superbowl is not the correct forum for politically-charged messages. But Palin, who originally took issue with NOW's request on her Facebook page earlier this week, said the group is picking the wrong battle.
"It certainly isn't an offensive message," the former Alaska governor said on Fox. "For NOW to have chosen this, [they are] picking a wrong battle I think, to come across sounding quite offended by hearing that a pro-life commercial will air on the Superbowl, it's baffling."
Meanwhile NOW President Terry O'Neill said Palin is "missing our point."
Honolulu, Hawaii (CNN) - After the divisive measure gained almost no traction among Republican National Committee members, a "purity test" for GOP candidates was withdrawn Friday before it could be voted on at the party's winter meeting in Hawaii.
Instead, RNC members voted to adopt a watered-down resolution that "urges" party leadership to "carefully screen the record and statements of all candidates who profess to be Republicans" and to determine "that they wholeheartedly support the core principles" of the Republican Party platform.
The new resolution was offered by Bill Crocker, national committeeman from Texas.
The purity resolution – which was first circulated among party members last November and immediately drew criticism from Republicans within the committee and on Capitol Hill – would have required candidates to support at least eight of 10 conservative principles in order to receive financial support from the RNC.
Jim Bopp, the Indiana committeeman and chief sponsor of the purity resolution, insisted that Friday's compromise was not a defeat.
"For the first time in history we are calling upon all Republican leaders to consider the positions of candidates on issues," Bopp told reporters after Friday's general session.
Read the full text of the RNC's resolution after the jump:
Washington (CNN) - Government researchers and officials are hoping to use a relatively small amount of stimulus dollars to help find new ways for the nation to produce, consume and store energy.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, part of the Energy Department, was conceived during the George W. Bush administration but only got its first funding in the stimulus bill - to the tune of $400 million.
Agency director Arun Majumdar says that the nation lags in energy security and that his agency is key to helping the country address the problem aggressively. He aims to invest early in ventures that he says could deliver huge gains if they pan out.
He calls it investing in "American pioneers."
President Obama addressed House GOP leaders at a retreat in Baltimore Friday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Baltimore, Maryland (CNN) - President Obama and House GOP leaders promised greater efforts to step back from the partisan brink Friday, acknowledging that Washington's toxic political climate has made it increasingly tough to tackle major problems.
The pledge was immediately called into question, however, as the two parties repeatedly expressed sharply differing viewpoints during a rare meeting at a House Republican retreat in Baltimore.
Obama accepted an invitation from House GOP leaders to address their caucus. His speech Friday was followed by an often testy question-and-answer session.
"House Republican leaders are grateful for [Obama's] willingness to come ... and have a frank and honest conversation," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana. "We welcome the dialogue with the president."
The president accused Republicans of frequently mischaracterizing his policy proposals, particularly in the health care debate.
(CNN) - North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx criticized President Obama after his address to House Republicans but had no qualms about walking away with a souvenir.
"Pres gave us another lecture. Our guys asked great questions. Need independent fact checker for his comments. Got autograph," the Republican congresswoman tweeted Friday afternoon at the House Republican retreat.
A follow up tweet she sent shortly after read, "Am concerned that Pres thinks health care bill is centrist. He did not accept the scalpel and it is a great tool."
Her remarks followed a rare question-and-answer session with the president and the GOP caucus.
About 300 lawmakers, family members and aides attended the meeting, which was broadcast live. The event was for the most part civil, with a few moments of heated discussion.
Obama accused Republicans of frequently mischaracterizing his policy proposals, particularly in the health care debate. Republicans, in turn, complained that the White House and congressional Democrats had ignored their ideas, locked them out of the policy-making process, and unfairly labeled them as obstructionists.
"Both sides can take some blame for a sour climate on Capitol Hill," Obama sai, adding that Democrats and Republicans "need to be careful" in choosing their rhetoric. "A tone of civility instead of slash and burn would be helpful."
Addressing President Barack Obama at the GOP retreat Friday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asserted that the president reneged on a campaign promise to broadcast all health care debates on C-SPAN. The president, while admitting that some elements of the debate were left out, asserted that the majority of the legislative process surrounding health care had been made available for broadcast.
Fact Check: So which version of events is accurate?
According to a letter from C-SPAN: "Since the initial introduction of the America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 in the House and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the Senate, C-SPAN has televised literally hundreds of hours of committee hearings, markups and floor debate on these bills for the public to see. And importantly, we have archived all of this video for future generations to study in the C-SPAN Video Archives."
CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett says the health care conference meetings thus far have been informal and unofficial, but if a formal and official "conference committee" is convened, then rules would require its activities be open to media coverage. But, Barrett notes, the hard work for many bills is done in closed informal meetings. Only once everything is worked out is an official open meeting called to cast votes.
Bottom line: While many hearings and debates have been broadcast, key informal conference committee discussions - where any deal between the House and Senate will ultimately be brokered - are not open to the public or media, giving credence to Chaffetz's assertion.
- CNN Political Producer Robert Yoon contributed to this report.
Read the full text, as released by the White House, of President Obama's remarks in front of the GOP House Issues Conference, as well as the question and answer session that followed, after the jump:
(CNN) - Mitt Romney's political action committee raised just under $3 million in 2009, according to a statement released by the former Republican presidential candidate's Free and Strong PAC.
The PAC also reports donating just under $121,000 to Republican state and federal candidates, as well as Republican causes, in 2009 - an off-year election cycle.
Romney's PAC begins the new year with over $1.1 cash on hand, a total the committee calls a "substantial war chest to help finance Republican candidates in the important 2010 cycle."
Earlier Friday a source told CNN that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will report raising more than $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2009. Romney and Pawlenty may be potential opponents for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.
(CNN) - President Obama is following CNN's latest polling on the economic stimulus bill.
The president made reference to our poll released earlier Friday showing that while 56 percent of Americans oppose the stimulus measure as a whole, they approve of many of its specific initiatives.
"There was an interesting headline on CNN today. Americans disapprove of stimulus, but like every policy in it," Obama said during his remarks at the House Republican Retreat in Baltimore. "There was a poll that showed if you broke it down into its component parts, 80 percent approved of the tax cuts, 80 percent approved of the infrastructure, 80 percent approved of the assistance to the unemployed."
But CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes the president wasn't entirely accurate in his recitation of the poll's findings.
"Obama's summary of the CNN/Opinion Research poll was largely correct but the president misstated one of the poll results," Holland said. "The poll found that 70 percent of Americans approved of the tax cuts in the stimulus package, ten points lower than Obama indicated. Roughly eight in ten Americans approve of increased spending on roads and bridges and assistance to people who lost their jobs, as the President noted."
(CNN) - Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Indiana, announced Friday he would retire at the close of the 111th Congress, citing his wife's diagnosis of an incurable autoimmune disease.
"I believe it is my family's best interest for me to complete my service to the nation in military uniform and in Congress," said Buyer, according to a transcript released by his congressional office.
Buyer, 51, was first elected to Congress in 1992 and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. He is currently the senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The announcement comes days after Buyer's non-profit group, the Frontier Foundation, came under fire from the Committee on Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which accused the group of abusing its tax-exempt status. The organization filed complaints with the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this week, asking for an investigation "to determine whether Frontier has been operated for public or private purposes."