TPM News

Doesn't look like former First Lady Barbara Bush is a big Sarah Palin fan.

In a taped interview scheduled to air Monday on "Larry King Live," Bush was asked for her thoughts on the former vice presidential candidate.

"I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she's very happy in Alaska, and I hope she'll stay there," Barbara Bush said.

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George W. Bush isn't the only official in the prior administration with writing chops. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is also hard at work on a book that he told TPM will "set the record straight" on his public service and offer a "very candid, very honest" assessment of the people he worked with and decisions he made in the White House and at the Justice Department.

Gonzales also told me that he's in the midst of reading Bush's book Decision Points -- and while he's found his former boss' memoir "insightful," he remembers some events a bit differently than the former president.

"I would just simply urge your readers [to note] that he and I could observe the same thing and come away with completely different conclusions or memories of what we observed," said Gonzales. "So the fact that I might observe something or remember something differently than what he writes about in the book is just, I think, the human condition of people remembering something or observing something differently."

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The Federal Elections Commission has dismissed a complaint against Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) that alleged that he made an illegal contribution to his own campaign when his parents gave his former mistress and staffer -- and her family -- $96,000.

The complaint, brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, claimed that the payment counted as severance and, as such, was an in-kind contribution to Ensign's political committees for which the woman worked.

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The Senate today approved funding for the Pigford II settlement after nine months of delays. It must still be approved by the House in order to pass.

The $1.25 billion settlement is the result of a class action lawsuit filed by black farmers who were discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture. The settlement was approved by a federal judge in February.

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Ramsey County in Minnesota has responded to Republican Tom Emmer's complaint with the Minnesota Supreme Court that possible "overvoting" occurred in the gubernatorial race. After counting voting receipts, Ramsey County drafted a written response that called the complaint "fundamentally flawed because they rely on a statute that uses obsolete language that is inconsistent with modern election day practices."

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With the Republican National Commitee still reeling from former Political Director Gentry Collins' scathing indictment of chairman Michael Steele in his resignation letter, Steele has sent a letter of his own to the RNC's voting members defending his tenure at the helm of the committee.

TPM obtained a copy of the memo that Steele sent today, in which he highlighted his efforts to reach out to the tea party and drive turnout by reaching out to the Republican grassroots. And he took a less-than-subtle shot at establishment types who kept the fired-up conservative activists in the tea party at arms length for most of the cycle.

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On the heels of a censure recommendation for Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), the House ethics committee today announced that the upcoming ethics hearing for Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is postponed indefinitely.

Unspecified new evidence has cropped up in the case, according to the committee, and the matter will go back to an investigative panel. The hearing had been set for Nov. 29.

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In 2009, a single $86.2 million contribution from the health insurance industry's largest trade association, AHIP, accounted for almost half of the Chamber of Commerce's total contributions. Much of that money was dedicated to the Chamber's then-escalating campaign against the health care reform bill -- a campaign the Chamber characterized as an advocacy effort on behalf of the broader business community.

In the below ad, for instance, the Chamber warned of "increasing health care costs for businesses and working families.

In his State of American Business Address earlier this year, Chamber CEO Tom Donohue bemoaned the plight of business owners.

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