(CNN) - At the House Republican retreat in Baltimore Friday, President Barack Obama and GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas disagreed on several key facts about the federal budget. Hensarling said that "what were the old annual deficits under Republicans have become monthly deficits under Democrats" and that Obama's first budget "triples the national debt."
Obama said both of Hensarling's points were "factually just not true" and that he inherited "a $1.3 trillion deficit before I passed any law." The president challenged any "independent fact-checker out there to take a look at your presentation versus mine in terms of the accuracy of what I just said."
Fact Check: Is Hensarling correct when he says that Obama's first budget would have tripled the national debt and that his administration increased the annual deficit by a factor of 12? Is the president correct when he says he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit?
(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.