[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.huckpt0113.gi.jpg caption="Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was both sympathetic and critical of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin."]
(CNN) - Sarah Palin has complained repeatedly that she was given unfair treatment by the media during her rapid political ascent last year.
But Mike Huckabee – a potential rival for Palin in 2012 should they both decide to seek the White House – apparently doesn’t agree.
In an interview in the current issue of Esquire, Huckabee speaks sympathetically of Palin, saying she had been subjected to “sexist things that would never have been asked of a male candidate.”
But he pushed back against Palin’s assertion that high-profile journalists – particularly Katie Couric of CBS – were biased in their interviews with her.
“Now I must say I did not think that either the Charlie Gibson interview or the Katie Couric interviews were unfair,” Huckabee said. “In fact, if anything, Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle, even helpful. [Palin] just ... I don't know what happened. I can’t explain it. It was not a good interview. I’m being charitable.”
Since losing his bid for the GOP nomination last year, Mike Huckabee hasn’t been shy about criticizing some of the politicians he might face in a 2012 Republican primary battle – but Mitt Romney has remained his favorite target. In his new book, Huckabee wrote that Romney was "anything but conservative until he changed the light bulbs in his chandelier in time to run for president.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/07/art.getty.rnc.logo.jpg caption="The election for RNC chairman will take place on Jan. 30."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - South Carolina GOP chairman Katon Dawon picked up a pair of new endorsements Tuesday in his bid to run the Republican National Committee, including the support of Mississippi committee member Henry Barbour, the nephew of popular former RNC chairman Haley Barbour.
Barbour's endorsement - confirmed by Dawson's campaign - is notable because his uncle, now the governor of Mississippi, caught the attention of RNC members last week when he suggested Republicans should avoid tapping a Southerner to helm the party.
"There are some people that want to attack us as being too southern," Haley Barbour told USA Today on Jan. 5. "I don't think we ought to make it easier for them to do that."
Along with Dawson, southerners Chip Saltsman (Tennessee) and Mike Duncan (Kentucky) are seeking the RNC post.
Dawson also nabbed the backing of longtime New Jersey committee member David Norcross, who said he was initially hesitant to offer his support to a southerner, but changed his mind after examining Dawson’s record of winning statewide races in South Carolina.
Norcross said it's important to have a chairman "who comes from the strongest region for our party, who is willing to offer a hand to the northeast and the mountain west." New Jersey's other two members - state chair Tom Wilson and committeewoman Virginia Haines - have endorsed Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis.
Dawson wasn’t the only RNC member to pick up support Tuesday.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/13/bush.lkl.interview/art.lkl.bush.cnn.jpg caption=" President Bush and first lady Laura Bush sat down with CNN's Larry King Live on Tuesday."](CNN) - President Bush on Tuesday cautioned his successor, Barack Obama, "not to become an economic forecaster" after he takes office later this month.
In an interview with CNN's "Larry King Live," scheduled to air 9 p.m. Tuesday, King and Bush discussed Obama's predictions for a bad year ahead for the U.S. economy.
"He'll learn not to become an economic forecaster once he gets to be president," Bush said, agreeing that 2009 will likely be a hard year.
"That's not a good idea to say?" King asked the outgoing president.
Watch: Bush fights back at critics
"I don't think so. I think he can say it's going to be a tough period but to predict what the economy is going to do ... it is going to be bad, but how bad, how long?" Bush responded.
"What he ought to be saying, and I know he feels this way, is he's going to take the steps he thinks are necessary to get us back on the road to recovery and we will recover."
Bush said he liked Obama and was looking forward to his inauguration, where he will have a "front row seat" to an historic moment in the country's history.
But first lady Laura Bush said she took some of Obama's critiques of her husband personally.
"Were you angry at it?" King asked.
"Yes, sort of. George didn't really even know about it because he didn't really watch it that much," Laura Bush said, laughing.
"So what's new?" Bush piped in. "When you make big decisions and tough calls, you're going to get criticized."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.geithner.gi.jpg caption="Geithner is Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee."](CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama's transition office defended Treasury Secretary-designee Tim Geithner Monday amid reports he failed to pay the correct amount of taxes for a period of time and employed a housekeeper whose work authorization had expired.
"The President-elect chose Tim Geithner to be his Treasury Secretary because he's the right person to help lead our economic recovery during these challenging times," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. "He's dedicated his career to our country and served with honor, intelligence and distinction."
According the Wall Street Journal, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley - the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee - raised questions Tuesday about the status of a housekeeper who briefly worked for Geithner.
Geithner himself also reportedly didn't pay Social Security or Medicare taxes for "multiple years," according to the Wall Street Journal.
In his statement, Gibbs said Geithner made a "common mistake on his taxes, and was unaware that his part-time housekeeper's work authorization expired for the last three months of her employment.
"We hope that the Senate will confirm him with strong bipartisan support so that he can begin the important work of the country," Gibbs also said.
UPDATE: The Senate Finance Committee has released a document confirming Geithner failed to pay self employment taxes and employed a housekeeper whose authorization had expired.
According to the Obama transition team, transition officials discovered the problem on November 21, and notified the Senate Finance Committee soon after. The committee's release says members were informed of the problem on December 5.
(CNN) - At a Tuesday news conference, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell accidentally gave the future first lady an unexpected administration assignment:
MORRELL: Good afternoon. Pleasure to see you all today.
I have just a few announcements, and then I'll gladly take your questions.
First, Secretary Gates very much appreciates the Senate Armed Services Committee quickly arranging hearings this Thursday for the first four people nominated to serve in this department under President Obama.
As you know, last week the president-elect nominated Bill Lynn to be the deputy defense secretary; Michelle Obama for undersecretary of defense for policy...
MORRELL: Excuse me. Thank you for...
Thank you for correcting me. Talk about an - talk about an active first lady.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.holderleahy0113.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Leahy, right, is rounding up support for Attorney General-designee Eric Holder, left."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate chairman who will preside over the potentially bumpy confirmation hearings of Attorney General-designate Eric Holder continued his public campaign on Holder's behalf Tuesday by producing two prominent Republicans who back his confirmation.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, was joined by former GOP Sen. John Danforth, and former DEA Administrator and Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson. All praised Holder's ability to exhibit the necessary independence from the Obama White House.
At the heart of that issue is Holder's decision to acquiesce to the White House when President Bill Clinton granted a controversial pardon to fugitive Marc Rich in the final hours of Clinton's presidency.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.meganap.gi.jpg caption="Meghan McCain is defending Bristol Palin."](CNN) - Meghan McCain has drawn headlines for her unfiltered take on the presidential campaign, but there’s one topic the outspoken daughter of last year’s Republican presidential nominee won’t touch: her father’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
In an interview with the Monday Morning Clacker blog, McCain discussed her love for burlesque queen Dita Von Teese, calling her “spectacular… everything she does is genius. Her book still sits on my coffee table.”
She also said she was “inspired by Bikers For McCain and want[s] to go back to Sturgis next year and do bike week right.”
But she wouldn’t be drawn into any assessment of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential pick. “Sarah Palin is the only part of the campaign that I won’t comment on publicly,” she said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.hrchand0113.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Clinton was questioned Tuesday about the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - During her confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Hillary Clinton refused to commit to extending an existing memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cover contributors to her husband's Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton asserted that government ethics officials have concluded under "well-established" rules that "there is not an inherent conflict of interest" for her in any of former President Bill Clinton's fundraising or other business dealings.
Clinton stated that her husband had already gone beyond what was legally required by signing a MoU to fully disclose donations to the Clinton Foundation.
While admitting that extending the MoU to the Clinton Global Initiative is not required by law, Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter asserted that "a lot of real and perceived conflict issues" arise from the work of the group, particularly relating to certain contributors from the Middle East.
Clinton responded that while the MoU would not be amended to cover the work of the Initiative, she was trying to address all questions about potential conflicts of interest in a "transparent manner" and there would be "ongoing reviews" of the Clinton Global Initiative's activities.
The initiative wasn't included in the original MoU because it has always disclosed the names of its donors, Clinton noted.
She also refused to agree to a request by Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican, to have the Clinton Foundation reject donations from foreign governments during her tenure as secretary of state.
Obama met with Senate Democrats on the Hill Tuesday (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama tried to convince Senate Democrats to get behind his plan for the second half of the $700 billion bailout, warning he would veto a threatened disapproval resolution, according to senators who met with him.
Obama on Monday asked President Bush to inform Congress of his intent to use the remaining balance under the Treasury Department's $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Bush sent a request to Congress on behalf of the incoming administration.
Obama met with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill to make his case for how he wants to spend the funds and to rally support for his economic stimulus plan.
Obama attended the weekly lunch of Democratic senators in what was his final visit to the Senate before his inauguration next week.
Obama took about 15 questions, many of which were from Democrats skeptical of TARP, senators in the meeting said. Obama repeatedly promised to make the process more transparent, they said.
Republicans and Democrats have said they were upset by how the Treasury Department spent the first allotment of $350 billion.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/13/art.bushmission.gi.jpg caption="Bush delivered a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003."]
(CNN) - It's a moment President Bush has repeatedly called a mistake: Delivering a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Spring of 2003 with a "Mission Accomplished" banner featured prominently behind him.
But the much-maligned photo-op wasn't the president's fault at all, according to former White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett.
Bartlett, currently a political analyst with CBS, said Tuesday he was the one who actually gave the final go-ahead of the event.
"Quite frankly, yours truly was the guy who actually signed off," he said Tuesday. "I regret it to this day, because it did send the wrong message."
In his final press conference Monday, Bush immediately cited the moment when asked by a reporter what mistakes he had made over the last eight years.
"Clearly, putting a 'mission accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake," he said. "We were trying to say something differently but, nevertheless, it conveyed a different message."
Bush has also previously defended the banner as pertaining to the mission of the crew on board the Aircraft carrier, not the Iraqi invasion as a whole.