- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2010

GEORGIA

Ex-Christian Coalition head won’t seek office

ATLANTA | Former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed announced Wednesday that he has decided not to run for Congress in Georgia.

Mr. Reed considered seeking the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District northeast of Atlanta but said Wednesday on the social networking site Twitter and his Web site that he won’t.

The 48-year-old was clobbered in his first bid for elected office in 2006. Facing questions about his ties to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, he was defeated by a little-known state senator in the race to become Georgia’s lieutenant governor.

He said in a letter to supporters Wednesday that he made the decision not to run for Congress after much thought and prayer.

“I can best advance conservative principles by continuing to serve as CEO of Century Strategies, LLC, and founding chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition,” he wrote.

CENSUS

Lawmakers ban misleading mailings

The House has passed legislation that would ban misleading mailings designed to appear as if they’re from the Census Bureau.

The 416-0 vote Wednesday follows criticism that Republican groups were sending fundraising letters using the census name.

Under the bill, mailings marked “census” will be required to state the name and address of the sender, along with an unambiguous disclaimer that the survey is not affiliated with the federal government. It now goes to the Senate.

The Census Bureau has said it was concerned about a recent spate of misleading mailings that appeared to come from the agency. Some of the mailings come from the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

NASA

Obama to tackle shift at space conference

President Obama is trying to tamp down an uprising in politically vital Florida against a new strategy for NASA that has rankled space veterans and lawmakers and sparked fears of job losses.

It is making for a potentially explosive environment when Mr. Obama travels to the Cape Canaveral area on April 15 to host a space conference with top officials and leaders in the field.

“What reception will they get? Not good,” said Keith Cowing, editor of nasawatch.com, a Web site that closely monitors the U.S. space agency. “It’s a gutsy move. It’s Daniel in the lion’s den.”

Mr. Obama’s decision to kill NASA’s Constellation program to launch astronauts into orbit and return Americans to the moon has prompted soul-searching on whether the United States is prepared to cede a pre-eminent space role to Russia and China.

“As with all great human achievements, our commitment to space must be renewed and encouraged or we will surely be surpassed by other nations [that] are presently challenging our leadership in space,” Democratic and Republican members of Congress from Florida wrote to Mr. Obama last week.

SENATE

Clinton, Gates say help improves image

Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have told a Senate panel that U.S. investments in fighting AIDS, malaria and other diseases in underdeveloped nations play a vital role in improving America’s image abroad.

Mr. Clinton said Wednesday that helping the world’s poorest tackle their health problems is “intrinsically good for America’s foreign policy.” The former president said the work shouldn’t be politicized.

Both Mr. Clinton and the Microsoft Corp. co-founder urged lawmakers on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee to use a time of budget constraints to see how each dollar in foreign aid can be spent most effectively.

WHITE HOUSE

First lady donates gown to museum

Michelle Obama has donated the gown she wore to 10 inaugural balls last year to the Smithsonian Institution.

Mrs. Obama said seeing the Jason Wu design for the first time since the whirlwind night of Jan. 20, 2009, brought back cherished memories of the hectic day her husband became the nation’s 44th president.

The one-shouldered white chiffon dress will go on public display in a new gallery at the National Museum of American History. It will be part of a first ladies exhibit featuring the inaugural dresses of 10 presidents’ wives, starting with Mamie Eisenhower.

All first ladies since 1912 have contributed to the collection, but not all have donated their inaugural gowns.

HOUSE

Faster tax breaks sought for Chile gifts

The House has passed a bill that would allow taxpayers to write off charitable donations to Chile earthquake relief efforts when they file their 2009 taxes this spring.

Under current law, donors would have to wait until next year, when they file their 2010 returns, to claim the deductions. The House bill would allow donations made by April 15 to be deducted on 2009 returns.

The House passed the bill Wednesday on a voice vote, with no opposition. It now goes to the Senate. Congress passed a similar bill for donations to Haiti quake victims made before the end of February. The bill would extend the deadline for Haiti donations until April 15 as well.

SENATE

Brown to release memoir in 2011

NEW YORK | Sen. Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent years by winning the seat once held by the now- deceased Edward M. Kennedy, has a book deal.

HarperCollins announced Tuesday that it will publish Mr. Brown’s memoir, currently untitled, in early 2011. Financial terms were not disclosed; Mr. Brown was represented by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose many clients have included Kennedy, the liberal icon who died last summer after 47 years in office.

“I am humbled to have the opportunity to share my personal story in hopes to inform, encourage and inspire others,” the 50-year-old Mr. Brown said in a statement released by the publisher.

Despite running in a solidly Democratic state, Mr. Brown won a special election in January to serve the remainder of Kennedy’s term and became a hero to Republicans nationwide.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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