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Inside Politics: Lawmaker tries again for new WWI memorial

A Texas congressman has revived his effort to build a National World War I Memorial on the Mall, an effort that did not come to fruition last year amid concerns about new construction on the heavily trafficked strip of federal land.

Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican, refiled the "Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act" in the new Congress. The bill calls for a memorial site no larger than a half-acre that may cost up to $10 million in privately raised funds.

The legislation asked for an exemption to a 2003 law that prohibits new commemorative works on the Mall. Proponents of his efforts say those who fought and died in the Great War of 1914-1918 deserve to be honored alongside those who went overseas to serve in the other major conflicts of the 20th century.

Buckles was the last surviving American veteran of the war. He died in 2011.

MEDIA

Former Secretary of State Rice joins CBS News

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has joined CBS News as a contributor.

CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager and President David Rhodes say Ms. Rice "will use her insight and vast experience to explore issues facing America at home and abroad."

Ms. Rice served as secretary of state during President George W. Bush's second term. She was the first black woman to hold the post.

Ms. Rice was Mr. Bush's national security adviser during his first term and worked on the National Security Council under President George H.W. Bush.

TEXAS

Perry adds $3.5 million to coffers; mum on plans

AUSTIN — Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised a bit more than $3.5 million in the last six months of 2012, pushing his campaign cash-on-hand to more than $6 million.

The Republican took office in December 2000 and is the longest-serving governor in state history.

But Mr. Perry says he won't announce until this summer whether he will seek a fourth full term.

In the meantime, he has remained a prodigious fundraiser, taking in $3,554,046 from June 30 through Dec. 8.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, also a Republican, is widely rumored to be mulling a run for governor. His campaign reported raising more than $4.1 million between July 1 and Dec. 31.

Mr. Abbott now has over $18 million in cash on-hand.

SENATE

Letter questions prosecutors over legal pursuit of Swartz

Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, sent a letter Friday questioning whether federal prosecutors were overzealous in their prosecution of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist and co-founder of the website Reddit who took his own life on Jan. 11.

"Was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?" Mr. Cornyn said in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. "If so, I recommend that you refer the matter immediately to the Inspector General."

Swartz committed suicide at the age of 26. He was facing trial on charges of breaking into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer system and downloading academic articles without a subscription. He could have faced up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

His family and friends have blamed the government for his death, saying they bullied him with their prosecution.

NEW YORK

Ex-Mayor Koch enters hospital over weekend

NEW YORK — Former New York Mayor Ed Koch is back in the hospital for the third time in recent months.

Spokesman George Arzt says Mr. Koch went to the hospital at about 10 p.m. Saturday with swollen ankles. He says tests on Sunday showed Mr. Koch also has some fluid in his lungs.

Mr. Arzt says Mr. Koch "sounded great" when they spoke Sunday.

It's unclear when he will be released.

Mr. Arzt says Mr. Koch didn't look well at lunch with former aides on Saturday afternoon. He was at dinner with friends Saturday night, including a doctor who recommended he seek medical attention.

Mr. Koch was hospitalized in December with a respiratory infection and in September with anemia.

The 88-year-old Democrat served three terms from 1978 to 1989. He's famous for asking constituents, "How'm I doing?"

WASHINGTON

State waits for Justice action on legalizing marijuana

YAKIMA — Now that Washington voters have legalized marijuana, will the Yakima Valley add pot to the list of products produced in one of the world's most productive agricultural regions?

Not necessarily.

Too many unanswered questions remain, from how the state will regulate it to whether entrepreneurs or large corporations should lead the way.

And marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Many states have approved it for medical use, but only Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational use.

The Justice Department has not said whether it will try to block the new laws.

For that reason, key land-grant universities that typically aid the agriculture industry by researching such things as pest control and crop yields -- but rely on federal funding to do so -- are avoiding the pot industry.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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