[Updated at 10:44 p.m. ET] Former Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday he's focused on running for the White House.
"I'm running for president," Pawlenty said in an interview Tuesday on "Piers Morgan Tonight." "I'm not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president. I'm focused on running for president."
Pawlenty was responding to a hypothetical question if he would serve as Donald Trump's vice president if Trump received the GOP nomination in 2012.
Pawlenty, who announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee last month, told Morgan moments later that he will make a formal presidential announcement "in the coming weeks."
"I've got an exploratory committee up and running and we'll have a final or full announcement in the coming weeks here, it won't be too much longer, but everything is headed in that direction," Pawlenty said.
And his campaign said the "I'm running for president" comment was not an official announcement.
"As the governor has said many times, he is not running to be anybody's vice president," Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant told CNN. "He will have a formal announcement about running for president later this spring."FULL STORY
Some highlights of the day's business news:
Stocks dragged down by oil and Alcoa
U.S. stocks finished lower Tuesday, with all three major indexes losing about 1%, as a 3% drop in oil prices sparked a sell-off in energy stocks and Alcoa's sales disappointment weighed down the Dow.
Investors also were on edge after Japanese officials raised the threat level at the Fukushima nuclear plant to the same as the 1986 incident at Chernobyl, in what was then the Soviet Union.
It's fitting that a place called Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, would yield the discovery of a scary-looking creature. But it's not a ghost - it's a dinosaur.
This dog-sized, ferocious-looking critter is called Daemonosaurus chauliodus, which means something along the lines of “buck-toothed evil lizard,” says Hans-Dieter Sues, lead author of the published research describing this dinosaur, and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
The illustration above compares the head and neck with a quarter. You can see that it has a short snout and enormous front teeth.
A skull and other remains found Monday on Long Island, New York, have been identified as being human, according to Nassau County police Officer James Imperial.
One of the discoveries was a skull found on the outskirts of a bird sanctuary in the Nassau County town of Oyster Bay. The other remains were found about a mile and a half away, also in Nassau County, authorities said.
Eight other sets of human remains have been found since December in neighboring Suffolk County on Long Island while investigators probed the deaths of several young women. Monday's discoveries came on the first day those investigators searched for evidence in and around Nassau County.FULL STORY
[Updated at 6:09 p.m. ET] Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was admitted to a hospital Tuesday after complaining to his doctor that he felt unwell, according to a spokesman for the Egyptian military.
A military source said Mubarak's condition was stable, not critical, and that his wife and elder son were with him.
Egyptian state television reported Mubarak suffered a heart attack during questioning over possible corruption charges. When contacted by CNN, however, the prosecutor's office denied any reports Mubarak had been questioned by authorities Tuesday.
New CNN columnist LZ Granderson received more than 1,000 comments last week on his column about Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Trump’s disagreement about race. This week, he responded to some of them in a video (seen above) and wrote a column asserting that voters should have to take tests to prove that they are worthy to cast ballots. The comments for this week's column are highlighted below.
Comment of the day: “Like Churchill said, the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” –biorod
Many CNN.com readers agreed with Granderson this week:
maxemoose said, “Twenty percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. It’s no wonder we make no progress on major scientific issues. I suspect the only people who will be against this man's point of view are people who actually lack knowledge of our government and how it works. I 100 percent agree with this guy.” eddiev5 said, “This is a brilliant commentary. Probably one of the best commentaries I have seen on CNN. Both political parties would be largely reduced in size if there was some sort of U.S. common knowledge test.”
The Zetas drug cartel is believed to be behind the mass graves recently discovered in northern Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.
Mexican Attorney General Marisela Morales said that 116 bodies have been found and that 17 suspects have been detained in connection to the killings.
Authorities began finding the graves last week during an investigation into a report of the kidnapping of passengers from a bus in late March. The investigation led them to San Fernando, Mexico, the same place where the bodies of 72 immigrants were found at a ranch last August.
The Mexican state of Tamaulipas, where San Fernando is located, is one of Mexico's most active states when it comes to drug trafficking. The Zetas cartel and the Gulf cartel operate in the state and have strongholds there.FULL STORY
The idea that "home of manned spaceflight" won't be home to one of NASA's retired shuttles isn't sitting so well with some.
The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was considered a strong contender to receive one of four retired space shuttles.
Instead, the honors have gone to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida (Atlantis); the California Science Center in Los Angeles (Endeavour); the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia (Discovery); and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York (Enterpise), NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said Tuesday.
Many in Space City are none too pleased by the snub, considering the role it has played in the development of the nation's space program.
Columnists and blogs, including Jalopnik, are weighing in on "Why Houston Deserved a Damn Space Shuttle," and the news has prompted the Twittersphere to make #JSC, #Houston and #spaceshuttle trending topics in the hours since NASA made the announcement.
"Sad day in Houston," CopyDRcom tweeted, summing up the prevailing sentiments of disappointment over the decision, particularly among many who claim some connection to Johnson Space Center.
"As a former JSC co-op student/employee, I must say, in my most composed manner possible, WHAT THE HELL, NASA HQ? >:/" former JSC employee juliamontgomery said.
"Personally I am disappointed Houston/ JSC didn't get a Shuttle & from a space history standpoint deserved one. But again not surprised," ISS flight controller greg_forest said.
"Before astronauts ever boarded a space shuttle, they trained in Houston. When they orbited Earth, they phoned home to Houston," Lisa_llbc86 tweeted. "I have pickup truck. I'll sneak Endeavour back to #JSC. That's how we do it in TX"
Others, however, felt the appropriate locations were selected.
"While I'm sad JSC isn't getting a orbiter, lot more people will see them in their chosen destinations :/," self-proclaimed "space nut" @ericmblog tweeted.
"#Shuttle destinations seem very reasonable. Glad #OV104 will be staying at home. Shame for #Adler, #JSC, but no perfect solution," astrodad said.
A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with the robbery of a lemonade stand that was raising money for a child's medical treatment.
Gage Turner, 20, was arrested about 3 a.m. Tuesday, and his girlfriend, Amber Umbarger, 21, was arrested Saturday shortly after the lemonade stand in Warner Robins, Georgia, was robbed, Houston County Sheriff's Lt. John Holland told CNN affiliate WMAZ.
Chelsea Edwards, 13, and two of her friends were selling lemonade to raise money for the care of her 2-year-old cousin, Logan Varnadoe, CNN affiliate WXIA reported.
Logan has had multiple surgeries for an intestinal disorder and was born with part of his brain missing, according to WXIA. He and his parents are to be flown soon from Georgia to Cincinnati for advanced treatment. The lemonade sales were meant to defray the cost.
NASA's space shuttles are bound for New York, Los Angeles, the Washington area and Cape Canaveral, Florida, in retirement, the space agency announced Tuesday.
More than 20 locations around the country had vied to call the retiring orbiters their home.
Space shuttle Discovery will go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, outside Washington. Discovery's last mission ended March 9. The shuttle is undergoing a decommissioning process in which all toxic materials are removed and the orbiter is prepared for display.
Currently on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center is the Enterprise, the prototype shuttle built but never flown in space. Enterprise was used to fly approach and landing tests and also for vibration tests on the ground. It will eventually go to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.
An American man has been detained by North Korean authorities, two State Department officials told CNN.
The State Department is working with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongang, the North Korean capital, the officials said. The Swedes have been granted consular access to the man and have visited him, the officials said. The Swedes are asking for regular visits, the officials said.
Sweden represents America's interests in North Korea because the United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations.
The sources declined to provide additional information because of privacy concerns.FULL STORY
Eman al-Obeidy was introduced to audiences worldwide in late March when she burst into a Tripoli hotel, screaming to international journalists staying there that she had been held against her will for two days and raped by soldiers working for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Since then, she has become a voice of a movement against Gadhafi's four-decade rule as his opponents continue to battle his supporters in a bloody civil war. Facebook pages and Twitter feeds from around the world have continually paid tribute to al-Obeidy and made her a rallying cry for revolution. Her story has also prompted worldwide discussion about rape as a weapon of war.
CNN has constantly covered developments in her story, which has taken many turns in the past few weeks. After she was dragged away from the hotel, Libyan officials promised that al-Obeidy would be treated at a hospital and released, but her family members said they had not heard from her. Her mother vowed to stand behind her, and a concerned cousin told CNN shortly after the hotel incident that al-Obeidy hailed from an opposition stronghold. The cousin said that on the video, al-Obeidy didn't "look like herself" and that she was afraid of what Gadhafi's people would do to her.
Though the Libyan government asked CNN not to talk to al-Obeidy, correspondent Nic Robertson was able to sit down with her April 7 for her first on-air interview. She described being kidnapped by drunken men, taken to a residence, tortured, raped, beaten and tied up. She said the men sodomized her with their weapons and poured alcohol into her eyes. Instead of being horrified that this happened, many Libyans criticized her for shaming herself by showing her bruised wrists and legs to the journalists at the hotel. Al-Obeidy was undeterred. "Let the world know what's happening" in Libya, she told Robertson.
This week, al-Obeidy told Anderson Cooper that she fears for her life and has not been allowed, as Gadhafi's son promised her, to leave Tripoli and return to her home in the east. Prosecutors who are supposed to help her are refusing to talk with her, she said. She even saw one of her attackers on the street last week during a rare occasion when she had the courage to go outside. "He was not scared, meaning he knows he will not be detained," she told Cooper.
At that moment, she said, she felt overwhelmed. "There was pain and fear because he was circling ... meaning he could confront me at any moment and kill me."
The man is a relative of a public official in Gadhafi's circle, she said. "They are in a war, so they need all the members of the family to be united."
The former Afghan foreign minister, considered the chief opposition leader to President Hamid Karzai, is in Washington to speak at the 2011 U.S.-Islamic World Forum, which begins Tuesday. Appearing on NPR on Tuesday morning, Abdullah repeated his allegation of rampant corruption in the Karzai government. He withdrew from the 2009 Afghan presidential election in protest over his accusations of a fixed vote for Karzai. On April 21, Abdullah will appear at the National Press Club in Washington.
The Egyptian blogger, 25, faces three years in prison for criticizing Egypt's ruling military council with allegations of brutality. It is the first trial of a blogger held by the military leaders who took charge in February after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. The ruling stands as a warning for all journalists, bloggers and human rights activists who dare to dissent, attorney Adel Ramadan told The New York Times. "Maikel is the first prisoner of conscience in Egypt after the revolution," Ramadan told the Times.
These videos are sure to put you in a spacey mood. Today's Gotta Watch recognizes the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight. Be it jamming out with a rock legend from above the atmosphere or watching 133 shuttle launches in 133 seconds, these videos should feed your need speed and expand your knowledge of the cosmos.
Man's first space flight – It was an amazing feat, and in the battle that was the space race, the former Soviet Union landed a powerful punch when it successfully launched the first manned space flight. Watch cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin make the first-ever orbit of Earth and ignite the race to the first moon landing.
Shuttle retirement home – NASA will announce where space shuttles Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis will spend their retirement years – which could mean millions in tourism revenue. Among the places in the running are Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, New York, Houston, Chicago, Seattle and Dayton, Ohio. Tuesday is the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle launch.
Spaceflight anniversary – Speaking of spaceflight anniversaries, Tuesday marks 50 years since the first time a human entered space. On this date in 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took a nearly two-hour ride into space and back aboard the Vostok 1 rocket before he and his capsule parachuted safely back to Earth.
Civil War anniversary – And, lest we forget, Tuesday also marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, which began with Confederate forces' pre-dawn shelling of the Union garrison at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Over the next four years, 600,000 Americans would die and thousands of slaves would go free. But some of the wounds have never healed, as a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates.
Conflict in Libya – The civil war in Libya rages on after rebels seeking to oust leader Moammar Gadhafi rejected an African Union cease-fire proposal. The back-and-forth conflict could lead the country into violent anarchy like Somalia's, Gadhafi's former foreign minister warned in a BBC interview Monday.
Federal budget – In Washington, lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the budget deal reached last weekend. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and members of Congress are working on plans for next year's budget, hammering out goals for taxation and spending.
Barry Bonds trial – The jury in former baseball star Barry Bonds' perjury trial enters its third day of deliberations Tuesday. Bonds is accused of lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 about knowingly taking anabolic steroids and getting injections from anyone but his doctors.
The budget battle continues in Washington as President Obama and Congress consider spending cuts and the debt ceiling. Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of this developing story.
Today's programming highlights...
10:00 am ET - Natural gas drilling hearing - Two Senate environment subcommittees consider natural gas drilling and its impact on public health and the environment.