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GOP watch: Jet-setting Steele

Politico breaks this story on Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's spending habits: "Steele is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers -- expenses that are infuriating the party's major donors who say Republicans need every penny they can get for the fight to win back Congress. Most recently, donors grumbled when Steele hired renowned chef Wolfgang Puck's local crew to cater the RNC's Christmas party inside the trendy Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then moved its annual winter meeting from Washington to Hawaii. For some major GOP donors, both decisions were symbolic of the kind of wasteful spending habits they claim has become endemic to his tenure at the RNC."
 
More: "Michael Steele is an imperial chairman," said one longtime Republican fundraiser. "He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people's money."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, 69, was hospitalized with chest pains in Washington, D.C. "Cheney has a history of heart problems, including four heart attacks starting at age 37." 
 
Meanwhile, former Sen. Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, is recovering from a bout with pneumonia at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. 
 
"For all the camaraderie demonstrated during the 37th annual Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend, just beneath the surface lay an unresolved debate about whether conservatives can truly embrace Latino immigrants in their ranks," Roll Call reports. "Beyond the Marriott Wardman Park ballroom, where dozens of Republican leaders gave speech after thunderous speech, the conference hosted numerous forums on immigration -- some with diametrically opposed themes. In doing so, CPAC highlighted a dichotomy in how conservatives view immigration reform and immigrants themselves."