Washington (CNN) - Several GOP congressional sources on Wednesday's daily morning conference call among Republican communications aides on Capitol Hill and the RNC described it as a session where congressional GOP aides unloaded their frustration over their perception that Michael Steele is using his book tour to undermine the party's political message.
"It was ugly, but something that needed to be done," says one of the GOP congressional sources who took RNC aides to task on the call.
Several GOP sources on the conference call tell CNN they told RNC aides that they believe this has been a good political week for Republicans, but that several comments Steele has made during his book tour are "putting all of efforts and all of our bosses in very difficult positions and doing so unnecessarily," according to one of the GOP aides.
Specifically, congressional Republican sources tell CNN they were outraged that Steele went on Fox Monday and said that Republicans can't win back the majority in 2010. These sources tell CNN there was widespread anger that the statement would undermine GOP efforts at fundraising and recruiting.
Many GOP congressional sources and party strategists are also enraged that part of the chairman's book - and tour to promote it - goes through Republican mistakes in past elections. These sources say conceding Republicans lost their way was last year's message, and that the party chairman in 2010 should be looking forward, not backwards.
Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Friday that violence is rising in Sudan, where human suffering in Darfur continues "on a mass scale."
Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Clinton said Sudan is "at a critical juncture." While the ceasefire between the Sudanese government and the main rebel group has mostly held, "threats to progress are real," she said.
"The parties in Sudan have a choice," Clinton said. "They can revert back to a dark era of conflict or they can move forward together toward a lasting peace."
In April, Sudan will hold its first national elections in 24 years. Less than a year later the people of southern Sudan will vote on whether to break off and form an independent country.
Clinton called on all parties to work to ensure that those elections take place "on time with their outcomes respected." She said Norway and Britain have pledged to cooperate with the United States in achieving the goal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - GOP tempers flared Wednesday during a routine conference call when House and Senate leadership aides confronted Republican National Committee staffers over recent comments by party chairman Michael Steele.
At issue was Steele's prediction earlier this week during his nationwide book tour that the GOP would not take back the House in November - comments that infuriated Republican strategists on Capitol Hill, who decided to broach the topic during Wednesday's call.
The dispute - first reported by Hotline On Call - occurred on a daily strategy call with aides from Republican leadership offices in the House and Senate along with RNC officials.
According to a senior House aide on the conference call, a Senate staffer said the chairman was trampling on the GOP's message in a week that saw several high-profile Democratic retirements. The Senate aide told RNC staffers to do a better job controlling their chairman.
"He is digging himself deeper," the Senate aide griped about Steele, according to the House source. "He's got to stop and put and end to this thing."
RNC Research Director Jeff Berkowitz jumped in and "offered a hard defense of Steele," according to the senior House aide. Berkowitz shot back that the Senate official was "out of line," which then set off a round of "bickering," the House aide told CNN.
Washington (CNN) - A GOP official is dismissing a report that John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is pressuring his fellow Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to drop her gubernatorial primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry.
A Wall Street Journal column reported Thursday that Cornyn is "trying to persuade Ms. Hutchison to drop out of the governor's race [to] run for re-election to the senate" - a move that would put an end to the hard-hitting GOP primary battle in Texas and keep Hutchison's seat in Republican hands.
Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the NRSC, called the report "absolutely false."
(CNN) - Labor Secretary Hilda Solis responded to CNN on the latest jobs report Monday showing the economy shed 85,000 jobs in December"
"If you compare the job loss from last year at this time we've actually been able to see that contraction in the last four months. We've seen that happen. But of course that's not good enough. The president and I remain very committed every single day to see that we put and add jobs back, and today we'll be talking about more incentives to provide tax credits for small businesses."
Solis also promoted so-called "green jobs."
"We also see where people want to have a career ladder in perhaps the energy efficiency arena. So they may start out as someone who's an electrician and end up later on being the owner of a small business that actually helps to install solar panels. So we're trying to provide those incentives working with community colleges, local government, private partnerships with businesses, and really getting a handle at the local level so it comes from the bottom up."
Washington (CNN) - One day after he gave up his bid for governor of Pennsylvania, Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach will announce Friday that he's running this year for re-election, a Republican source familiar with the decision tells CNN.
Gerlach announced on his campaign Web site Thursday that he was no longer a candidate for governor.
"I intend to continue to raise my voice, and work hard in the months and years ahead," Gerlach said in a statement on the Web site.
Gerlach has represented Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional district, in the southeast part of the state, for four terms. All four of his election victories have been by narrow margins. Sen. John Kerry won the district by 3 points in the 2004 presidential election and Barack Obama took the district by 17 points in 2008.
Gerlach cited fundraising as the main reason for dropping his bid for governor. Polls over the past few months indicated the congressman trailed Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett by double digits in the battle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. State Sen. Sam Rohrer also remains in the contest.
Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell is term limited and prevented from running for re-election. There is a crowded field of Democrats vying to succeed Rendell.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
Washington (CNN) - The government says that the country's unemployment rate remained at 10 percent in December. But the report, released by the Labor Department Friday morning, also says that employers cut 85,000 jobs last month, more than analysts had expected.
Minutes after the release of the report, the Republican National Committee reacted:
"More than 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs since the stimulus passed, and the national unemployment rate remains at 10 percent. The American economy is a powerful and amazingly resilient system that will always naturally return to balance because of the determination and unique ingenuity of the American worker. But President Obama's singular focus on enacting his government-run liberal policies are single handily preventing this return," said RNC Chairman Michael Steele in a statement. "It's time for President Obama to heed the recent words of Democrat Senator Ben Nelson and finally do what he should have been doing over the past year – put his full and undivided attention on fixing our economy."
President Barack Obama's expected to discuss the economy and jobs at an event at the White House Friday afternoon.
The October rate of 10.2 percent was the highest in the United States since 1983.
- CNN's Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
(CNN) - A former attorney to President George W. Bush was arrested Wednesday at his Connecticut home and accused of trying to kill his wife, according to the New Canaan Police Department.
Police said they were responding to a “panic alarm activation” at the home of John Farren, 57, when they were redirected to another house nearby. A resident there had placed a 911 call saying an injured woman was at her home after being “involved in a domestic dispute with her husband” at the couple’s residence. Police said they found the woman “bleeding about her head, face and body.”
Farren was arrested at the couple’s home a short time later, police said. His lawyer had no comment when contacted Thursday by CNN.
Farren was “charged with Criminal Attempt at Murder and Strangulation 1st degree,” according to a police statement. He was arraigned Thursday in Norwalk Superior Court and is being held on a $2 million bond.
Sgt. Carol Ogrinc, a New Canaan Police spokeswoman, confirmed that the 43-year-old woman was Farren’s wife. She “is in stable condition with head and facial injuries,” according to the police statement.
Former colleagues confirm that Farren worked in the Bush administration. An archived press release said that Farren was appointed deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president in June 2007.
–CNN's Mark Preston and Stephanie Gallman contributed to this report.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
Compiled by Alison Harding
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNN: Report on failed Christmas terror attack released
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CNN: Obama outlines anti-terrorism flaws, reforms
President Obama outlined Thursday the intelligence and other government failures leading up to the botched December 25 terror bombing of a U.S.-bound jetliner.
CNN: Sources: Feds scrambling to find additional air marshals
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Wall Street Journal: U.S. Insists Pakistan Ease Limits On Staffers
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad demanded that Pakistan stop detaining American diplomats at police checkpoints on the country's roads - an unusual public complaint intended, in part, to counter rumors of U.S. plots against Pakistan.
Jerusalem Post: US preparing forces for possibility of conflict with Iran
The US does not want to see confrontation with Iran but is still preparing its military for that possibility, America's top uniformed officer said Thursday.
Bloomberg: Gates Calls for Delay in Pentagon Purchases of Lockheed F-35s
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a delay in the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 program, cutting the Pentagon’s planned purchases by 10 aircraft in fiscal 2011 and a total of 122 through 2015, according to a budget document.
Wall Street Journal: Rents Signal Rise of D.C., Fall of N.Y.
The office market in Washington, D.C., is poised to topple New York as the nation's most expensive, reflecting the declining fortunes of the nation's financial center and the government expansion under way in the U.S. capital.
CNN: House Democrats object to Senate health provisions
Rank and file House Democrats Wednesday objected to some key provisions in the Senate health care bill during a wide-ranging conference call led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders. Over 100 Members participated in the call meant to update Democrats on health care negotiations.