(CNN) – Laura Bush will deliver a paid speech to the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan in March, one of select few public appearances the former first lady has made since departing the White House last January.
Her March 16 visit to Benton Harbor, Michigan, a town on Lake Michigan, comes roughly a year after her husband addressed the same group and offered a defense of his administration's use of harsh interrogations tactics.
Laura Bush's remarks aren't likely to be as politically-tinged: The group is promoting the speech by highlighting her record on early childhood development and women's issues.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will also address the Economic Club in May. Palin and the Bushes are clients of the Washington Speakers Bureau.
Washington (CNN) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared Friday to defend Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, over ethics charges that led to his admonishment.
"They have said he did not knowingly violate the rules," she told reporters after thanking the ethics committee for its work. "They did not take action against him. They just said he did not willfully break the rules."
Rangel was formally admonished Friday by the House's ethics committee for violating rules on receiving gifts.
Washington (CNN) – House Republicans were still hammering away at Democrats on Friday, one day after pressuring the majority to withdraw a controversial amendment to an intelligence funding bill that would have criminally punished intelligence officers for conducting harsh interrogations.
On the House floor, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, called the provision "deplorable," and said it was symptomatic in how some in Congress and the administration view intelligence officials. "Their reflex action is to blame the intelligence community first," he said.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said he was glad the Democrats decided to take what he called a "lousy" amendment out of the bill, but criticized them for "sneaking" it into the overall money bill without any debate or hearings.
Earlier this week, the House Rules Committee added several amendments to the intelligence funding bill, including an 11-page provision that specifies criminal penalties for "any officer or employee of the intelligence community who, in the course of or in anticipation of a covered interrogation, knowingly commits, attempts to commit, or conspires to commit an act of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment."
(CNN) – A family court judge in Charleston, South Carolina, has granted Jenny Sanford's request for a divorce from her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford.
She filed for divorce last December, saying reconciliation efforts with her husband were unsuccessful after he carried on a year-long affair with an Argentine woman he called his "soulmate."
Jenny Sanford, who has been separated from her husband since last summer, appeared in the courtroom. The governor was not in attendance.
The judge said the divorce will become official at some point in March when the paperwork can be entered into court records.
Read Mark Sanford's statement after the jump:
Washington (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush appeared relaxed as he talk about his post-presidency life, according to one participant at Friday's kickoff breakfast for the Bush Cheney Alumni Association at a Washington hotel.
In his speech to several hundred people who served in his administration, he also talked about writing his book, due out later this year, and in the process poked fun at himself.
"This is going to come as quite a shock to people up here that I can write a book, much less read one," Bush joked, the one participant told CNN, confirming a quote first reported by Politico. The participant refused to discuss his comments in any more depth since it was a closed press event, and Mr. Bush asked for his remarks not to be leaked.
Bush's spokesman refused to comment on the event.
The former president previously told the Los Angeles Times his aim for the book was to help "people to understand the environment in which I was making decisions ... I want people to get a sense of how decisions were made, and I want people to see the options that were placed before me."
Washington (CNN) – President Obama tersely reminded Sen. John McCain Thursday during the White House health care summit that, "We're not campaigning anymore. The election is over."
The president was referring to the 2008 presidential race, but McCain still has a Senate campaign to deal with back in Arizona. And on Friday, his re-election campaign released yet another radio spot, this time enlisting his fellow Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl to promote McCain's "conservative principles."
Kyl narrates the 30-second ad and tell listeners: "Arizona could have no stronger advocate than John. He's with me every step of the way in fighting for conservative principles in Washington."
McCain is facing a challenge on his right flank from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in the Republican primary.
(CNN) - Embattled New York Gov. David Paterson is expected to announce later Friday that he won't seek a full term in office, but will remain as governor for the rest of the year, a Democratic Party source tells CNN.
Paterson is expected to go before cameras later Friday in New York City.
At a news conference Thursday evening, Paterson said he would not resign the governor's office, and speaking of his bid for a full term in office, he added that "I'm in this for the long haul."
Washington (CNN) - Playing off the classic Master Card 'priceless' television commercials, a DNC Web video released Friday paints Republican Marco Rucio as a serial abuser of a Florida State Republican Party credit card.
The video highlights alleged improprieties stemming from documents obtained by the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald that indicate Rubio made personal purchases with a state party corporate credit card.
Rubio has denied any wrongdoing, saying he later reimbursed the party.
Set to classical piano, the video highlights excerpts from The Miami Herald that indicate Rubio used party funds for auto repair, property management and restaurant meals.
Rubio is a rising GOP star locked in a senatorial primary battle with Gov. Charlie Crist, who Rubio says is behind the leak.
(CNN) - A day after denying any improprieties with his use of a Florida Republican Party credit card, Senate candidate Marco Rubio says he has discovered he erroneously double-billed both the party and the state of Florida for several flights while he was House Speaker.
Rubio, who is currently battling Gov. Charlie Crist for the GOP Senate nomination, said in a statement that eight official state business flights, totaling $3,000, had inadvertently been charged to both the state and the party.
"Billing the Party was a mistake which needs to be fixed," said Rubio in a statement. "So, out of an abundance of caution, I am personally reimbursing the Party for the cost of all 8 flights."
The Florida House Speaker is eligible for complete reimbursement for any travel related to official state duties. Rubio's campaign notes that when he was Speaker he saved taxpayers $32,000 by only charging the state for eight flights out of hundreds taken.