(CNN) – Former presidential candidate John Edwards arrived in Haiti Thursday, the same day he admitted to fathering a child with a former campaign worker, Reuters reported.
Joyce Fitzpatrick, a spokeswoman for Edwards, confirms to CNN the former North Carolina senator was planning to travel to Haiti Thursday with about 30 doctors to help in the relief effort.
The group was also bringing supplies, according to Fitzpatrick. It remains unclear how long Edwards is planning on staying in Haiti, which was ravaged by an earthquake over a week ago.
– CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report
Washington (CNN) – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's first State of the Union address next Wednesday.
McDonnell won the Virginia governorship last November, reversing nearly a decade of Democratic gains in the purple state. He was sworn in as governor of the commonwealth last weekend.
After his resounding victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds, Republican strategists pointed to McDonnell's path to victory - focusing on economic issues while remaining committed to conservative principles - as a blueprint for future GOP successes in the 2010 midterm elections.
In 2006, Democrats tapped then-Gov. Tim Kaine to deliver the response to President Bush's State of the Union speech for similar reasons; national officials saw Kaine's win in Virginia the previous year as a sign that Democrats were finding ways to win elections in traditionally-red states.
(CNN) – The two Republican candidates for governor in California have coffers full of cash to battle for their party's nomination, and much of it has come from their own pockets.
Meg Whitman has contributed almost $40 million to her campaign so far. The former CEO of eBay announced Thursday that she has supplied her campaign with $20 million in new funding. In 2009, Whitman gave her campaign $19 million and raised $10.2 million from donors. She now has more than $30 million cash on hand to try to secure her party's nomination.
Whitman's infusion of money into her campaign's bank account bolsters her cash lead over her Republican rival, California's Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.
Poizner has $17.5 million cash on hand, most of which came from his own contributions – he has given his campaign more than $19 million since announcing his candidacy. The insurance commissioner has raised almost $2.5 million from outside contributions.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama slammed the Supreme Court's ruling loosening restrictions on corporate spending in federal elections Thursday, saying it "gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington - while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."
Obama issued a statement saying he is telling his administration "to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this
decision. The public interest requires nothing less."
His statement came hours after the 5-4 high court ruling.
"The Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics," Obama said. "It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama on Thursday publicly signed on to a message that former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker has been giving for a year: Let's limit the big banks.
Volcker, an economic adviser to Obama, will join the president Thursday in announcing new measures to narrow the size and scope of banks' investment activities, according to a senior administration official.
Calling it the "Volcker rule," the president proposed prohibiting commercial banks from making trades for their own accounts. He also proposed prohibiting banks from owning or investing in hedge funds.
"We should no longer allow banks to stray too far from their central mission of serving their customers," Obama said in a White House address.
Obama also proposed tougher rules aimed at limiting bank mergers and consolidation. New, yet to be determined, caps would curb banks' marketshare, going further than existing caps.
Washington (CNN) – In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's surprising win in this week's Senate special election in Massachusetts, the anti-tax Club for Growth is publicly urging Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, to challenge Sen. Evan Bayh this fall.
Pence is a hero to small-government conservatives who has beefed up his political operation in recent months along with making travels to states like Iowa and South Carolina, sparking talk that he is eyeing a White House run in 2012. Pence has also been mentioned as a potential successor to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels after Daniels' second term expires in 2013.
But the Club for Growth wants Pence to jump in the Senate race instead. Chris Chocola, the Club's president, said in a statement Thursday that Brown's win in Massachusetts "confirms that Indiana is a winnable race for a principled advocate of economic freedom and limited government."
"Mike Pence can beat Evan Bayh in November, and I join pro-growth conservatives in Indiana and around the country in hoping that he does," Chocola said.
On Wednesday, Pence confidante Tony Perkins - the president of the conservative Family Research Council - suggested to CNN that Pence isn't likely to run against Bayh. "I think he is positioned to move, but I just don't know if the Senate is where he will be," Perkins said.
Washington (CNN) – On the morning after delivering his final "State of the State" address in Columbia, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford strolled through the Capitol rotunda Thursday afternoon along with South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis.
Asked why he was in Washington, Sanford, a former House Member, walked toward the House floor as the chamber was about to vote and told CNN: "I was going to catch up with some friends on the House floor."
Sanford said he has not yet met Massachusetts Sen-elect Scott Brown.
Another Republican governor, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was also visiting House lawmakers today. He is slated to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the entire House delegation from his state.
Washington (CNN) - More than half of all Americans think unemployment is the most important economic issue facing the country, according to a new national poll.
Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say joblessness is the most pressing economic issue right now. That's more than double the 22 percent who listed the federal budget deficit as the most important economic issue.
The poll's Thursday release comes as the government reports that the number of Americans filing first time claims for unemployment insurance surged to a two-month high last week. The Labor Department says there were 482,000 initial jobs claims filed in the week ending on January 16, up 36,000 from the week before.
"Today's new jobless figures may not come as a surprise to most Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Seven in ten Americans say the economic news they have heard recently is bad news - and a third say they have heard no good economic news at all in recent weeks."
Is Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts a sign of things to come? (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – Political analysts say that emotions played as big a role as issues in Republican Scott Brown's earthshaking win this week in traditionally Democratic Massachusetts.
Related: Mr. Brown goes to Washington
And those emotions will appear likely to influence the rest of the political season into the November midterm elections.
"People are so angry out here in the real world they can't see straight," political analyst Jennifer Donahue said.
Independent voters can break an election. It happened in 2008 and once again in 2010.
A day after his victory to fill Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat, Brown said Wednesday the one thing he heard the most during his campaign was that people were tired of business as usual.
"That means the behind-the-scenes deals. ... They want to make sure that their elected officials are doing things in a transparent manner, and doing it with the best interests of our state and mine."
Related video: What's next for health care?
Follow Ed Hornick on Twitter: @hornickcnn
(CNN) – Former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush will endorse Texas gubernatorial candidate Kay Bailey Hutchison on Friday, according to Hutchison's campaign.
The endorsement is set to occur at a press conference at the former president's office in Houston.
Hutchison, in her fourth term in the U.S. Senate, faces incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in a Republican primary in March.