- - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CAMPAIGNS

Gingriches owed as much as $500,000 to Tiffany’s

Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s family at one point owed as much as a half-million dollars to luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co.

Financial disclosures filed by Callista Gingrich show she or her husband also owed as much as $50,000 to American Express. Mrs. Gingrich, who worked as an aide in the U.S. House until 2007, was required to disclose debts of more than $10,000 and the rules allow reporting of a broad range of figures.

ENERGY

Interior chief asks for shorter drilling time

The Obama administration is asking Congress to shorten the time energy companies get to start drilling on public lands they lease, as part of the government’s strategy to boost oil and gas production.

Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar pushed a series of measures Tuesday in testimony before a Senate panel considering drilling legislation. The proposals expanded on plans announced by President Obama over the weekend to speed up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, on Alaska’s North Slope and off the Atlantic Coast.

PRESIDENT

Obama ducking White House press?

It’s been more than a month since President Obama answered any questions from the White House press corps, and restive reporters are taking note.

The last time Mr. Obama appeared before White House reporters was April 5, when he took a few questions in the briefing room about budget negotiations to avert a government shutdown. Prior to that, Mr. Obama held a news conference on March 11.

At the White House daily briefing on Tuesday, Associated Press reporter Jim Kuhnhenn asked presidential press secretary Jay Carney why “we haven’t had an opportunity to ask the president anything” in six weeks.

Mr. Carney said reporters will have opportunities to question the president if they are traveling with him next week to the G-8 summit in France.

WASHINGTON

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