Bush coming to boost Talent campaign
ST. LOUIS -- President Bush will visit St. Louis on March 18 to raise money for Republican Jim Talent, who is campaigning to unseat Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan.
Talent announced the visit on Friday, saying: "I'm honored the president is taking the time to travel to Missouri to campaign with me."
Talent's St. Louis-based campaign said it will release more details later about the event, which is a fund-raiser to be held at America's Center.
Talent, 45, is a former congressman from St. Louis who lost the 2000 governor's race to Democrat Bob Holden by less than 1 percent of the vote.
Columbia begins chase after Hubble Telescope
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Columbia blasted off before dawn Friday and began chasing the Hubble Space Telescope to give it an overhaul and a new camera to widen its view of the cosmos.
The shuttle and its seven-member repair team should catch up to the telescope on Sunday. Five grueling days of spacewalking will follow to replace faltering parts and install the camera that should boost its discovery capability by tenfold.
Shortly after Columbia's arrival in orbit, however, a reduced flow of Freon was detected in the radiators on the payload bay's left door.
A team of engineers immediately was formed to look into the problem and its impact on the 11-day flight. For now, the situation was considered acceptable.
President recommends financial advisers
DES MOINES, Iowa -- President Bush on Friday advocated allowing U.S. workers to put a share of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts -- and have financial advisers to guide their investment decisions.
"You ought to be trusted with your own money," Bush said to workers at a Des Moines printing business that offers 401(k) plans. "A 401(k) recognizes who owns the money. Watching that money grow on a tax-free basis makes a lot of sense."
He later touted that plan and his anti-terrorism efforts at a luncheon fund-raiser that brought in $475,000 for Rep. Tom Latham and the state GOP.
Elections overhaul bill moving again
WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats on Friday abandoned their demands that first-time voters be allowed to prove their identity with merely a signature, a major sticking point in the debate over overhauling elections.
The agreement removed the biggest hurdle to passing a $3.4 billion bill aimed at preventing a repeat of the 2000 Florida presidential vote dispute. The House passed its $2.6 billion version in December.
But another dispute -- over Democratic demands to exclude Oregon and Washington state, both of which have vote-by-mail systems -- remained a stumbling block.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said lawmakers have until Tuesday to reach a compromise.
-- From wire reports