WASHINGTON - President Obama has signed one for the Gipper.
With the stroke of a pen yesterday, he created the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, while saying that the late 40th president had a "spirit that transcended politics." The 11-person panel will plan and carry out activities to mark the 100th anniversary, in 2011, of Reagan's birth. That may include issuing a postage stamp or a $1 coin or convening a joint session of Congress.
Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911, and died June 5, 2004. Former first lady Nancy Reagan, 87, joined Obama for the signing at the White House. - AP
Entrance fees at 147 national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, will be waived on three weekends this summer: June 20-21, July 18-19, and Aug. 15-16, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said yesterday.
"During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families," he said at a news conference at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.
Last year, National Park Service sites attracted more than 275 million visits, generating $10.6 billion for local economies and supporting more than 213,000 jobs, Salazar said.
A total of 147 national parks and monuments charge entrance fees; the 244 other parks are already free. - AP
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Gov. Tim Pawlenty yesterday said he would not seek a third term next year, but the Republican widely regarded as a likely White House contender said he did not know "what the future holds for me."
Pawlenty dismissed talk of a 2012 presidential campaign as premature, saying at a news conference that he would focus on the next 19 months to finish his term strong. But he said he wouldn't hesitate to travel the country on behalf of a party he thinks needs refreshing.
A conservative with blue-collar roots, Pawlenty, 48, has spoken of the GOP's need to remake itself to attract "Sam's Club Republicans."
His announcement comes amid a prolonged dispute over one of Minnesota's U.S. Senate seats. Pawlenty said he would follow the state Supreme Court's direction on issuing an election certificate in the contested Norm Coleman-Al Franken race and would not "hold it up or delay it in any fashion." - AP
The Obama administration is warning lawmakers that the trust fund that pays for highway construction will go broke in August unless Congress approves an infusion of as much as $7 billion.