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Inside Politics: Dick Armey parts ways with FreedomWorks

- - Monday, December 3, 2012

Mother Jones magazine reported Monday night that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey was cutting all ties with FreedomWorks, the tea party-affiliated group the Texan had helped found.

Mr. Armey "tendered his resignation in an memo sent to Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, on November 30. Mother Jones obtained the email on Monday, and Armey has confirmed he sent it.

The tone of the memo suggests that this was not an amicable separation," the liberal magazine wrote.

In an interview with Mother Jones, Mr. Armey parried questions about whether the separation, which was not publicly announced, was amicable.

"The top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive, and I thought it was time to move on with my life," Mr. Armey said. "At this point, I don't want to get into the details. I just want to go on with my life."

Still, the letter, which the liberal magazine posted in its entirety, makes demands for disassociation more thorough than usual for an amicable parting, including that Mr. Armey's name, image, or signature be removed "from all its letters, print media, postings, websites, videos, testimonials, endorsements, fundraising materials, and social media, including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter."

Mr. Armey also asked that FreedomWorks return a copy of his official congressional portrait.

VETERANS AFFAIRS

Vietnam vets group joins suit over PTSD discharges

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The military has failed to correct the wrongful discharges of thousands of Vietnam veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, an advocacy group says in a federal lawsuit.

Vietnam Veterans of America on Monday joined a proposed class-action lawsuit in Hartford, Conn., against the Army, Navy and Air Force. The lawsuit, filed last year by a veteran, says the Vietnam veterans suffered PTSD before it was recognized and were discharged under other-than-honorable conditions that made them ineligible for disability compensation and other benefits.

The lawsuit says the military has refused to review or upgrade the discharge statuses of thousands of Vietnam War-era veterans with service-related PTSD.

The U.S. attorney's office, which is representing the military in the lawsuit, said it is reviewing the matter and will respond in court.

NEW YORK

Romney back on board of Marriott International

NEW YORK — Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is getting a new job title: member of Marriott International's board of directors.

He's held the post with the hotel chain twice before. The first time was from 1993 to 2002, when he left to campaign for governor of Massachusetts, and from 2009 to 2011, when he left to start his campaign for the presidency.

It's the first job announcement Mr. Romney has made since being defeated in the November election by President Obama. Mr. Romney has kept a low profile since the election. He's spent the past month largely in seclusion at his family's California home.

Marriott International Inc. is based in Bethesda, Md.

EDUCATION

Duncan commends plans for certification exam

One of the nation's largest teachers unions is proposing a stringent exam that teachers would have to pass before entering the profession, much like the bar exam for lawyers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is commending the proposal. He says the U.S. shouldn't tolerate having unprepared teachers.

The American Federation of Teachers says in a new report that such an exam would raise the benchmark for teachers. It is calling on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to take the lead in creating the exam.

AFT President Randi Weingarten says too many teachers are thrown into the classroom before they're ready. She says that is unfair to students and teachers.

To pass the written exam, teachers would also need a minimum grade-point average and at least one year of successful student teaching.

NEW JERSEY

Christie wants some Sandy costs fully paid by feds

TRENTON — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants full federal reimbursement for some superstorm-related costs.

Mr. Christie sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday requesting reimbursement of state and local government costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures for the 90 days after Superstorm Sandy hit the state at the end of October.

The Republican governor cites the financial burden confronting the state and local communities and says debris removal might not be able to continue if governments aren’t fully reimbursed.

The federal government typically doesn’t reimburse for the total cost of such services. But the Christie administration says there’s precedent for the request: Other states have received the aid for limited periods after similar natural disasters.

NEW YORK

Cheney penning book about his health battles

NEW YORK — Former Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the world's most prominent heart patients, is working on a book about his many battles with coronary disease and the revolutionary changes in treatment that have helped keep him alive.

The 71-year-old Mr. Cheney is collaborating with his cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, and with his daughter, Liz Cheney. Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc., announced Monday that the book is scheduled for next fall.

"It explains and talks about all the developments in cardiology by going through my own case," the former vice president said Monday during a brief telephone interview. "I'm alive today because of the tremendous advances that have been made."

Financial terms were not disclosed, although a "portion of the authors' net proceeds from the book will be donated to charity," according to Scribner. Mr. Cheney was represented by Washington attorney Robert B. Barnett, whose clients also include President Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Cheney and his daughter also worked together on his memoir "In My Time," published in 2011 by the conservative Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions.

From wire dispatches and staff reports