- - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Obama to hold Facebook town hall

President Obama intends to hold a town hall-style session on Facebook later this month during a trip to California.

Social media has been a popular means for Mr. Obama to communicate with supporters, particularly during his 2008 presidential campaign. The White House is eager to tap into the youthful audience that drives Facebook.

The Facebook session will be conducted April 20 from Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. According to an announcement posted on the White Houses Facebook page, the session will include company CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. It will be streamed live over the Internet.

The White House says Mr. Obama will conduct a discussion on the economy and the need to reduce the government’s debt while still spending on innovation and other administration priorities.

MINNESOTA

High-rise home to 2012 campaign

ST. PAUL — Republican Tim Pawlenty’s nascent presidential campaign is settling into a high-rise office building in downtown Minneapolis, the planned headquarters of an anticipated White House run.

An adviser to Mr. Pawlenty confirmed Tuesday that the former Minnesota governor’s exploratory committee has leased space and is moving into the 27-story building. Mr. Pawlenty’s campaign will occupy 5,000 square feet on the ninth floor.

The lease was first reported by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. The newspaper quoted a property broker as saying Mr. Pawlenty’s team preferred the site because it is partially furnished, close to a light-rail line that runs to the airport and has many restaurants and amenities nearby.

Terms were not disclosed.

Mr. Pawlenty told talk-radio host Dennis Miller earlier Tuesday that a full-blown presidential announcement is coming “shortly.”

TENNESSEE

Former lawmaker dies at age 80

NASHVILLE — Ned McWherter had political prowess matched by an engaging down-home personality that endeared him to Tennessee voters.

Mr. McWherter, a self-made millionaire businessman, turned a phrase as easily as he charmed those at the ballot box.

The two-term Democratic governor died Monday at Centennial Hospital in Nashville. He was 80 and had cancer.

Some of his memorable quotes:

“I know every hog path in Tennessee.”

“Just give me a cup of coffee and four vanilla wafers, and I’ll be ready to go to work.”

Mr. McWherter was an imposing 6-foot-4 and resembled actor Dan Blocker, who played “Hoss” on the old “Bonanza” TV show. In fact, a photo of the two together was displayed in Mr. McWherter’s office in Dresden.

He was governor from 1987 to 1995, following 20 years in the General Assembly - and 14 as House speaker. He also was a political adviser to Bill Clinton during his presidency.

A Great Depression-era child of sharecroppers, he became wealthy through various business enterprises before entering politics.

Funeral arrangements were not announced. He also is survived by a stepdaughter, Linda Ramsey. Mr. McWherter’s wife, Bette, died in 1973.

FLORIDA

LeMieux launches 2012 Senate bid

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux is launching a campaign for the job he held briefly following the resignation of Sen. Mel Martinez in 2009.

Mr. LeMieux, a Republican, announced Tuesday he plans to run in 2012 for the seat held by two-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

He says he thinks the country is on the verge of financial collapse and that he is the only Republican candidate with the Washington experience to tackle the problem.

Mr. LeMieux was appointed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist in September 2009 to replace Mr. Martinez. Fellow Republican Marco Rubio was elected last year to fill that seat for a full term.

HOUSE

GOP: Politics part of call

House Republicans say President Obama was influenced by presidential politics when he decided to allow alleged 9/11 conspirators to be tried by military commissions.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. told a congressional hearing Tuesday it was strange that the administration made its policy change the same day Mr. Obama announced his re-election campaign. The Wisconsin Republican said he and others “believe that the security of the United States should not depend on politics.”

Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott countered that Congress left Mr. Obama no choice but to abandon the plan to try the defendants in civilian courts. Congress barred transfer of detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the U.S.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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