USA

Former President Carter on Monday clarified a critical assessment he'd made of the Bush administration to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, calling it "careless or misinterpreted." Speaking on NBC's "Today" show, he said he wasn't calling the Bush White House the worst in history but that the current administration's foreign policy is "much worse" than President Nixon's was.

Florida moved its 2008 presidential primary ahead of those of a dozen other states Monday, when Gov. Charlie Crist (R) signed a bill making the switch from March to Jan. 29. The move puts the primary behind only the Iowa and Nevada caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and on the same day as South Carolina's Democratic primary.

Alltell Corp., which serves 12 million cellphone customers, mainly in the South, West, and Midwest, agreed Sunday to a $27.5 billion buyout by two investment firms. Shareholders and regulators must still approve the takeover by GS Capital Partners and TPG Capital.

Race driver Milka Duno of Venezuela secured a starting position Sunday in next Sunday's Indianapolis 500, ensuring that the event will have three women among its 33 starters for the first time ever. Duno, an Indy rookie whose qualifying speed was 219.228 m.p.h., will start 29th, behind veterans Danica Patrick (8th) and Sarah Fisher (21st).

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that parents are entitled to sue public school districts over their children's special education needs without needing to hire a lawyer. The court also ruled against consumers who alleged that some of the nation's largest local phone companies engaged in anti-competitive business practices. The case stemmed from changes in telecommunications law in 1996.

After nearly a week spent swimming 90 miles inland to Sacramento, Calif., two humpback whales – a mother and her calf – reversed course Sunday and journeyed some 20 miles back toward San Francisco Bay. The Coast Guard was prepared to track the whales Monday.

Gov. Bill Richardson (D) of New Mexico formally launched his presidential campaign Monday in California, his delegate-rich home state. The announcement, in which Richardson underlined his Hispanic roots, came a day after the mother of a fallen marine claimed the candidate misrepresented a conversation they'd had about a federal death benefit she received.

Gasoline prices soared to an all-time record during the past two weeks, jumping 11 cents to $3.18 on average for a gallon of self-serve regular, according to results released Sunday by the Lundberg Survey.

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