Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
While the administration is dealing with a trade skirmish with Mexico over cross-border trucking, recent remarks by Energy Secretary Steven Chu could potentially ruffle feathers with the Chinese.
The Wall Street Journal reports Chu told a House science panel Tuesday that he supports adjusting trade taxes as a weapon to protect U.S. manufacturing. Chu said establishing a carbon tariff would help level the playing field if other countries have not imposed greenhouse gas reduction mandates similar to what President Obama plans to implement.
But Chu's remarks came just a day after one of China's top climate envoys warned that those kinds of extra fees would be a disaster that would prompt a trade war.
President Obama's climate plan could cost industry close to $2 trillion. That figure is nearly three times the White House's initial estimate of $646 billion over eight years. The Washington Times reports a top Obama staffer revealed the new figure to Senate aides during a recent briefing.
The White House won't confirm the new number, but notes that the initial estimate was "conservative." The climate plan seeks to reduce pollution by setting a limit on carbon emissions and allowing businesses and groups to buy allowances.
A chaplain at a hospice in south Florida has resigned over a ban on the use of the words "God" and "Lord" in public settings. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper reports Reverend Mirta Signorelli quit because she and the other chaplains were told last month to "cease and desist from using God in prayers."
Signorelli's boss says the ban on religious references only applies to inspirational messages delivered during staff meetings, but Signorelli says, "If you take God away from me, it's like taking a medical tool away from a nurse."
Finally, it seems like the luck o' the Irish wasn't quite with the White House's teleprompter operator at Tuesday evening's Saint Patrick's Day celebration. As we have reported, President Obama uses a teleprompter on most speeches and even at town hall events. There were no cameras allowed at last night's gathering, but a print reporter says Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was a few paragraphs into his remarks when he realized he was repeating the exact speech President Obama had just delivered. Cowen stopped and turned to the president saying, "That's your speech." Mr. Obama laughed and returned to the podium to offer what might have been Cowen's remarks. In doing so, President Obama jokingly thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier currently serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) chief political anchor and anchor of Special Report with Bret Baier(weeknights at 6-7PM/ET), the highest-rated cable news program in its timeslot and consistently one of the top five shows in cable news. Based in Washington, DC, he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau.