TPM News

We now have an open Senate seat in Texas -- which should likely be a safe GOP hold, but also provide a lot of fun in the 2012 primary season. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has officially announced her much-expected retirement.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

In a letter to supporters, Hutchison said she enjoyed serving Texas.

"I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012," she wrote to supporters. "That should give the people of Texas ample time to consider who my successor will be."

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As the Navy continues its investigation into who knew what (and when) about the crude videos made by a ship captain, it has delayed the pending retirement of one of the captain's superiors.

The Navy earlier this month fired Capt. Owen Honors from his position as commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, after videos he had made in 2006 and 2007 surfaced. The videos, which he made when he was the executive officer, or second in command, of the Enterprise, include gay slurs, mock masturbation and other crude subject matter.

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The doctors who are treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and other victims of the mass shooting in Arizona said today that "everyone is making fantastic forward progress."

Dr. Michael Lemole confirmed that Giffords has opened her eyes, saying he's glad people heard the news from President Barack Obama because it puts a "real human side to this progress." Lemole said the "unexpected familiarity" of having friends and family visit is potentially what caused Giffords to open her eyes.

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1||January 12, 2011: Four days after a gunman killed six and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), at an event in Tucson, President Obama, family members, public officials and thousands of others gathered for a memorial service at the University of Arizona. ||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

2||The venue was filled to capacity, with more than 14,000 people there, and another 10,000 people who couldn't get in watching from the university's nearby stadium. ||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

3||||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

4||Relatives of Dorwin Stoddard, who was killed in Saturday's shooting.||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

5||President Obama hugging Mary Stoddard, Dorwin Stoddard's widow.||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

6||||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

7||First Lady Michelle Obama sat in the front row next to Mark Kelly, Rep. Giffords' husband.||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

8||||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

9||President Obama, with the family of Dorwin Stoddard||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

10||Dr. Peter Rhee, one of the doctors treating Giffords, posing for a picture with Tucson firefighters.||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

11||Carlos Gonzalez gave a Native American blessing during the service||Art Foxall/ART FOXALL/Newscom&&

12||Among the speakers was Daniel Hernandez, a 20-year-old intern in Giffords' office, whose quick thinking in the moments after the shooting has been credited with potentially saving her life.||Art Foxall/ART FOXALL/Newscom&&

13||||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

14||||Will Seberger/MCT/Newscom&&

15||||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

16||After speaking, Hernandez hugged Kelly, Giffords' husband.||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

17||The service was broadcast nationally, and Obama offered the nation's condolences for the victims

"There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through," Obama said. (Read Obama's entire speech here.)||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

18||The President offered thanks to those whose actions saved lives on Saturday.

"These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. Heroism is here, all around us, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, just waiting to be summoned - as it was on Saturday morning," he said.||Art Foxall/ART FOXALL/Newscom&&

19||The First Lady, looking on.||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

20||The President also took the opportunity to call for more civility in the nation's discourse, though he made a point of saying that "a simple lack of civility" did not cause the tragedy.

"I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here - they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us," he said.||Will Seberger/MCT/Newscom&&

21||The speech paid special attention to the youngest victim of the tragedy, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green.

"If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit," Obama said.||Kevork Djansezian - Pool via CNP/Newscom&&

22||The First Lady and Mark Kelly.||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

23||The President and Kelly.||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

24||||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

25||||Kevork Djansezian/UPI/Newscom&&

26||Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at the podium.||Art Foxall/UPI/Newscom&&

27||Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano||Art Foxall/UPI/Newscom&&

28||Attorney General Eric Holder||Art Foxall/ART FOXALL/Newscom&&

29||Members of the neurological team that worked on Rep. Giffords.||Art Foxall/ART FOXALL/Newscom&&

30||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

31||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

32||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

33||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

34||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

35||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 36||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 37||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 38||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 39||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 40||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 41||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&& 42||||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

Yesterday, the 2012 presidential race got its first semi-official Republican candidate. Is a second on the way?

Mitt Romney resigned from the board of directors of hotel giant Marriott International yesterday, a move that indicates he may be preparing for another presidential bid.

Romney previously served on Marriott's board for 10 years before stepping down in 2002 to run for governor of Massachusetts. He rejoined the board in 2009.

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At least one potential Republican presidential candidate is not joining the right-wing boycott of CPAC over its inclusion of a gay conservative group: Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who will be headed there to speak.

Several prominent social conservative groups are boycotting CPAC, due to the participation of GOProud, with others having pulled out because of financial disputes with the conference's parent group, the American Conservative Union.

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Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), who has long argued that his indictment on money laundering charges was politically motivated, said on the "Today Show" this morning that his conviction was political, too.

"I was tried in the most liberal county in the state of Texas and, indeed, in the United States," he said, referring to Travis County, the home of Austin. DeLay and his lawyers had tried to get his trial moved to a different, more conservative county, to no avail.

"The foreman of the jury was a Greenpeace activist," DeLay went on. "So, I'm not criticizing the jury. The point is this is a political campaign."

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