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Off to the races: Bush becomes a grandfather

Former President George W. Bush announced the birth of his granddaughter Sunday. His statement: “Laura and I are thrilled to announce the birth of our grandchild, Margaret Laura ‘Mila’ Hager. Mila, daughter of Jenna and Henry Hager, is named for her grandmothers.  She was born last night [Saturday], April 13, at 8:43pm in New York City. We met our beautiful granddaughter today. Jenna and Mila are healthy. And our family is elated.” (Here is a photo).

“More than four years after George W. Bush left the White House, the President said in an exclusive interview with The Dallas Morning News that he has taken up painting, an activity in which he takes “great delight in busting stereotypes.” ‘People are surprised,’ he said. ‘Of course, some people are surprised I can even read.’” More: “It’s a way to create,” Bush said. “I enjoy creating. … You can express yourself in a way that’s unique.”

Bush took up painting only about a year ago, started taking private instruction and now paints almost daily. He signs them, by the way, “43.”

GOP donor Bob Perry died. He was 80. AP: “Among his most famous contributions was giving $4.4 million in 2004 to the Swift Boat Veterans campaign that sought to discredit then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. Last year, Perry gave more than $18 million to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and organizations backing his candidacy.”

ALASKA: Is Joe Miller going to give it another go? He’s testing the waters… Roll Call with Miller’s email to supporters: “For several months now, my wife and I have engaged in serious reflection about our family, Alaska, and the state of our nation. After consultation with our political advisers, trusted friends, and many of our 2010 volunteers, we have decided to test the waters for a 2014 US Senate run.”

KENTUCKY: “The Democratic activist who accused two leaders of the Progress Kentucky super PAC of secretly recording Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backed down slightly Friday, saying he wasn’t sure if he discussed the plot with one of the men. Jacob Conway, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, told the Courier-Journal he was certain Curtis Morrison bragged about making the Feb. 2 recording at the McConnell campaign’s Louisville offices, but didn’t know if he discussed it with Shawn Reilly,” Politico notes. “‘I had a lot of conversations with both of them during that time period, and maybe I was just confused, and maybe Shawn never said anything,’ Conway said.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) again didn’t rule out a run for the Senate in New Hampshire. Brown said on Fox News Sunday: “Nothing’s off the table, and nothing’s on the table. Right now I’m recharging the batteries and working hard.”

NEW YORK: “As he seeks to extend the discussion about a possible candidacy for mayor — and shift attention away from the online sex-messaging scandal that cost him his Congressional seat — Anthony D. Weiner released a 21-page policy booklet on Sunday that he described as a blueprint for keeping New York City ‘the capital of the middle class,’” the New York Times reports.

VIRGINIA:The New York Times: The Virginia Board of Health on Friday gave final approval to new regulations for abortion clinics that will force them to spend large sums on renovations that abortion rights advocates say are medically unnecessary. Hotly debated for two years, and now a point of contention in the campaign for governor, the new rules, which impose architectural requirements and mandate state inspections of clinics, were described by abortion foes as vital to women’s welfare.”

And it’s become an issue in the race for governor: “Last year, the Health Board initially decided to ‘grandfather in’ existing clinics, exempting them from many of the construction requirements, which were originally written for newly built hospitals. But the conservative attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, ruled that such exemptions were illegal under the 2011 law and warned board members that they might be personally responsible for legal costs if they were sued over the matter. The board reversed itself, leading the state health commissioner at the time, Dr. Karen Remley, to resign in protest over what she described as political meddling. Dr. Remley, in an interview Friday, said that she and many other legal and medical experts believe that Mr. Cuccinelli was wrong in his interpretation of the law, that its wording allows a more flexible application of the construction requirements.”

Terry McAuliffe (D) called the decision in an e-mail to the Times, “an unnecessary move that was the result of Ken Cuccinelli forcing his divisive ideological agenda on Virginian women.”