OXON HILL, Md. (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton is on the minds of Republicans at the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists.
Several high-profile Republicans launched a dual effort today to attack the prospective Democratic presidential candidate and improve the GOP's longstanding struggle with women voters.
It was the closing act of the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington which highlighted the Republican Party's acute challenges.
Former vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, offered a message to all women, a group that has backed Democrats in every presidential election since 1988: "Women, don't let them use you -- unless you choose to be their political pawn, just their piece of accessory on their arm."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Clinton, if she were to become president, would be -- quote -- "a prison guard for the past."
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won overwhelmingly the conference's presidential preference straw poll, a symbolic victory that reflects his popularity among conservatives.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top White House official who has been with President Barack Obama since he first became a senator nine years ago is resigning.
Alyssa Mastromonaco is Obama's deputy chief of staff for operations and often described as the most influential person inside the White House who isn't well known outside of it.
She is responsible for planning presidential events, hiring staff and overseeing the White House complex.
A White House official said Mastromonaco is leaving in May to look for a job in the private sector.
Mastromonaco joined Obama's Senate office in February 2005 as scheduling director, and oversaw scheduling and advance for his 2008 presidential campaign and during Obama's first term at the White House. She was promoted to deputy chief of staff in 2011.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has introduced himself to California Democrats with a scathing indictment of the tea party and plans for a stronger middle class to move the country forward.
The potential 2016 White House candidate told Democratic delegates at a party convention in Los Angeles on Saturday that he's weary of cynicism and government-by-obstruction in Washington.
The Democrat criticizes tea-party Republicans who he says have been selling the country short. He warns of the danger of cutting education and aid for the needy.
O'Malley, who received a standing ovation at the end of his remarks, says the country must do more to make sure children don't inherit a lesser nation. And he pointed to job growth in his home state as a blueprint.
KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- A White House official says President Barack Obama will expand the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.
The area represents about 1,665 acres of federal land on California's Mendocino County coast, just north of Point Arena. The action, expected Tuesday, will expand the monument to include coastal bluff and shelves, tide pools, onshore sand dunes, coastal prairies, riverbanks and the mouth and estuary of the Garcia River.
Then-President Bill Clinton created the California Coastal Monument in 2000. Obama pledged this year to use his presidential authority to preserve more federal lands for future generations. The White House official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name before the formal announcement.
The Washington Post first reported on Obama's plans.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- About 245,000 customers remain without power as the Piedmont of North Carolina thaws out from a late winter storm.
Duke Energy reported 203,000 of its customers were without power Saturday afternoon after snow, sleet and up to a half-inch of ice fell in the Piedmont over the past two days. The utility reports over half of the people it serves in Alamance, Davidson and Randolph counties don't have electricity.
North Carolina's energy cooperatives reported almost 32,000 outages and EnergyUnited reported about 9,500 of its customers didn't have electricity.
Utilities are still trying to access damage, but say some people will be without power through next week.
Temperatures dropped below freezing Saturday morning, creating slick spots. But forecasters say highs in the 60s this weekend should thaw things out.
PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) -- A 71-year-old woman is believed to have suffered about 1,000 stings in Southern California after being attacked by a swarm of killer bees that covered her entire body.
Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams says the woman was expected to recover after Thursday's attack in Palm Desert. He said five firefighters were also hospitalized for stings.
A bee removal specialist told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that up to 80,000 Africanized honey bees found in an underground electrical vault stung a Verizon employee who opened the vault. Lance Davis said the bees then attacked the woman, who had just gotten out of a car nearby.
Davis said her relatives tossed a blanket over her and rushed her indoors.
Davis said he removed the bees and planned to donate them to farmers.
NEW YORK (AP) -- An 8-year-old western Montana boy who spent about an hour buried in the snow after a deadly avalanche roared into his backyard says he tried to "lick and bite" his way out before becoming tired and falling asleep.
Phoenix Scoles-Coburn, of Missoula, told "Today" show host Matt Lauer on Friday that he doesn't remember the moment the Feb. 28 snow slide hit him.
He says he looked back and saw a tree wobbling, so he ran. The next thing he knew, he was in the snow.
Phoenix's mother, Erin Scoles, says dozens of residents responded quickly with shovels and avalanche probes, but it took an hour to find the boy.
Phoenix suffered a laceration to his spleen and was hospitalized for two days.
The avalanche also buried a husband and wife. They also eventually were rescued, but the woman died in a hospital two days later.
Sheriff names snowmobiler killed in Utah avalanche
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Sheriff's officials in Utah have released the name of the snowmobiler who died after he was buried by an avalanche.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds tells the Salt Lake Tribune that 39-year-old Ryan Noorda of Honeyville was snowmobiling near Whitney Reservoir in the Uintah-Cache National Forest east of Salt Lake City at about 6 p.m. Friday when he was buried. He says the man's family pulled him out of the snow, but medical responders declared him dead at the scene.
A cause of the slide hasn't been released yet.
The Utah Avalanche Center says the area had moderate to considerable avalanche risk.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which compiles national statistics, says 20 other people have died in a snow slide this winter.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The military pilot killed in a fighter jet crash during a training exercise in Nevada has been identified as Marine Capt. Reid Nannen.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Marine Aircraft Group 12 released the 32-year-old pilot's name on Saturday.
Nannen died when the F/A-18C went down March 1 on a Navy range training complex east of Naval Air Station Fallon. The Marine jet was on loan to the naval station.
The Hopedale, Ill., native was a student at the TopGun school there.
Nannen's permanent assignment was at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan, and he had twice deployed to Afghanistan during his 10-year career.
A website set up to raise money for Nannen's family says he is survived by his wife and four children.