Washington (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty jokingly told conservative activists Friday that they can learn a few things from Tiger Woods' wife.
"At this very hour or very shortly this morning a big event is happening in the United States of America," Pawlenty said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "Tiger Woods is holding his press conference at 11 o'clock eastern."
"Now, I think we can learn a lot about that situation," he said. "Not from Tiger but from his wife. She said, 'I've had enough.' She said, 'No more.' I think we should take a page out of her playbook and take a nine-iron and smash the window out of big government in this country. We've had enough."
The eyebrow-raising quip was a highlight in an otherwise low-key, morning talk delivered by the potential 2012 presidential candidate. Unlike former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who delivered a polished, rousing speech to the conservative audience on Thursday, Pawlenty opted to speak without a teleprompter and riff off his notes.
Having drawn an early time slot for his speech, Pawlenty spoke to a relatively low-energy crowd with in a ballroom with scores of empty seats. Though his speech likely won't draw rave reviews, the governor – who more often excels working small rooms - is maneuvering behind-the-scenes to endear himself to Republican staffers and activists at the conference.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana will announce Friday that he's decided to make a bid for the seat now held by retiring Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democratic party source tells CNN.
Bayh delivered a major blow Monday to the Democratic Party, when he announced that he would not run for a third term this November.
Ellsworth, first elected in 2006, represents Indiana's eighth congressional district, which is located in the southwest part of the state. The former county sheriff won 61 percent of the vote in his first election, and grabbed 65 percent in his 2008 re-election. Ellsworth, 51, is telegenic and has a moderate voting record that will help him in a swing state like Indiana.
Ellsworth's announcement that he will run for Bayh's seat appears to be major coup for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which was hunting for a strong candidate to defend the seat. The move could also put the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a bind, as they will most likely now have to defend an another open seat in the House of Representatives. Ellsworth's district went for John McCain by 4 points in the 2008 presidential election and President Bush won the district by 24 points in 2004.
(CNN) - Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, fired up the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday morning, declaring President Obama has "lost his mojo."
"He had more mojo than any president that I remember when he was inaugurated a year and a month ago. But now, the master-mesmerizer has lost his mojo," King said to rousing applause. "And if we stand our ground as constitutional conservatives, he's not going to get it back."
King spent much of his fiery speech attacking Obama's efforts at health care as well as Democratic cap-and-trade proposals. On cap-and-trade, King suggested the recent snowfall across the country is the latest reason to doubt those who warn about climate change.
"The liberals, the environmentalists, the extremists, the Al Gores of the world were wrong on the science. Today, we know it," King said. "Sorry Al. But I have got a scoop shovel for you if you want to come anywhere in the 50 states in America. For the first time in the history of keeping records, there is snowfall on the ground in all 50 states. It's tough to make an argument when the evidence is all around us with a snowy white wonder in a crystal cathedral."
(CNN) - President Obama teams up with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at two events Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada. The visit comes as Reid faces a tough re-election bid this year, and as the president has come under attack for comments he's made about Las Vegas.
The president and the senate majority leader attend a town hall at a local high school, where Obama will take questions from citizens and business leaders. Later the two men travel to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, where Obama will give a speech.
Reid also joined the president Thursday night at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser that was held at a private residence in Las Vegas. The Nevada Democrat is battling this year for a fifth term in the Senate. While he's raised a large amount of campaign cash, polls of Nevada voters suggest that Reid faces a difficult re-election.
Earlier this month Reid told the White House to "lay off Las Vegas" after Obama slighted the city while making comments about government spending.
Washington (CNN) - Former Vice President Dick Cheney earned a standing ovation Thursday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, proclaiming "Barack Obama is a one term president."
Cheney, who was not scheduled to appear, received a warm welcome from the unsuspecting crowd and joked, "A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office again ... but I'm not going to do it."
During his brief remarks, the former vice president focused on recent Republican electoral success and the future of the conservative movement.
"There are some great years ahead of us. It is very, very important that we succeeed, and I'll do everything I can, but most especially I want to encourage that younger generation," Cheney said. "It really is a remarkable time to be a conservative."
The former vice president was introduced by his daughter Liz Cheney, a former State Department official and founding member of the group Keep America Safe. Liz Cheney used her time at the podium to launch a series of biting critiques of Obama administration policies.
"In the year that President Obama has been in office we have learned a lot, haven't we?" Cheney asked the audience. "We've learned he is not going to govern from the center, we've learned he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism, and he is going to travel the world apologizing for this great nation."
Washington (CNN) – One lucky high school class will get President Obama to speak at their graduation this year, the White House announced Friday.
The first annual "Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge" competition invites public high schools across the country to show the White House what sets them apart from other schools in academic excellence and college preparedness. Obama will address the commencement of the winning school.
"Public schools that encourage systemic reform and embrace effective approaches to teaching and learning help prepare America's students to graduate ready for college and a career, and enable them to out-compete any worker, anywhere on the world," Obama said in a video released on the White House Web site Friday. "This is your opportunity to show me why your school exemplifies the best that our education system has to offer."
Schools must fill out an application form available through the White House Web site by March 15. Six finalists will then be featured on the White House Web site where the public will have an opportunity to vote for the three schools they think best meet Obama's goals. An ultimate winner will then be selected. The six finalists will be selected by the White House and the Department of Education according to a statement from the White House.
Obama has made education reform a centerpiece of his domestic agenda. In his budget for fiscal year 2010, Obama proposed adding an additional $1.35 billion to continue his $4 billion Race to the Top Challenge for the nation's public schools.
The initiative calls for states to submit applications outlining how they would improve student performance, reward and retain teachers, and turn around low-performing schools.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: China summons U.S. ambassador over Dalai Lama meeting
China summoned the U.S. ambassador on Friday to express its "strong dissatisfaction" over the Dalai Lama's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama a day earlier.
The Hill: Sebelius: White House may fight for public option in health bill
The White House is willing to make a push for the public option if Senate Democrats decide to bring it up for a vote, Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said tonight.
CNN: What's up with the jobs bill?
A new CNN poll shows 84 percent of Americans believe Congress is not doing enough to tackle the nation's jobs problem. This won't come as welcome news to them. When the Senate returns next week lawmakers will vote on a dramatically pared down jobs bill. Even in its diminished form – and despite enormous public pressure for Washington to act – that jobs bill may not pass. Democrats said they are looking for the 60th vote to get it through the chamber.
Boston Herald: Democrats woo Scott Brown’s vote for president’s $15B jobs bill
Sen. Scott Brown – who campaigned on jobs creation – is facing the first tough test of his independence as Republicans and Democrats court his support for a critical employment bill slated to come up for a vote Monday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is challenging the rising GOP star to buck his own party and support the Democratic measure.
CNN: Conservatives rally at CPAC ahead of midterms
Political activists from across the country spent the first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference discussing policy, blasting the Obama administration and plotting a return to power in November.
Salt Lake Tribune: Hatch: Tea Party movement threatening to tear GOP apart
Sen. Orrin Hatch has a message for the Tea Party movement: Work with the GOP or see conservatives lose more ground. "If we fractionalize the Republican Party, we are going to see more liberals elected," Hatch warned a crowd of 300 at a town meeting at American Fork Junior High School on Wednesday night, amid jeers from Tea Party supporters.
New York Times: As Campaign Nears, Paterson Is Seen as Increasingly Remote
Mr. Paterson, as he has said, never asked to be governor. But from the time he succeeded Eliot Spitzer nearly two years ago, he has said he is dedicated to the job and intent on winning it in his own right this fall. On the eve of his election kickoff, however, interviews with dozens of current and former aides, legislators and friends reveal significant criticism about Mr. Paterson’s management of the state and of his election effort.