(CNN) - Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush endorsed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison Friday in her bid to overtake the incumbent Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a Republican primary in March.
"She has proven herself as an effective leader for Texas," the former president said in a press conference with reporters. He added that he had a long-standing offer to Hutchison to back her in a bid for the Texas governorship. "Today, we are very happy to have a chance to fulfill that commitment."
"Barbara and I are taking this unusual step of endorsing Kay in this primary not because we oppose Rick Perry," Bush said, "…but because of our unbridled belief in Kay."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - A total of 43 states reported rising jobless rates in December, reversing signs of improvement seen the month before, according to a government report released Friday.
Overall, jobless rates increased in those states and the District of Columbia last month and fell in four states, according to the Labor Department's monthly report on state unemployment. Three states reported no change.
In November, 36 states reported a monthly decrease in the unemployment rate.
President Obama departed from the South Lawn of the White House Friday. (Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama heads back to Ohio Friday, his fourth trip to the state since assuming the presidency a year ago.
Obama meets with voters at a community college in Elyria, Ohio, in the northeast part of the Buckeye State. The White House says the president will talk with workers and business owners about putting more Americans back to work. The trip to Lorian Country is the second stop on the what the administration calls the "White House to Main Street Tour."
The unemployment level in Ohio now stands at 10.9 percent.
President Obama first visited Ohio on March 6 of last year. The president attended a police class graduation in Columbus as part of a trip to tout the federal stimulus plan. Obama returned on July 23, to speak to voters at a townhall in Shaker Heights and made a third visit last year on September 7 to attend an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati.
Ohio is a crucial state in presidential elections. Obama won Ohio by 5 points over Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election. According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted in November, 45 percent of voters in the state approved of the job Obama's doing in the White House, with half of those questioned disapproving of his performance as president.
Ohio also has some high profile contests this November, including governor and senator.
– CNN's Becky Brittain and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
(CNN) - A new poll indicates that Meg Whitman has a large lead over her remaining Republican opponent in the battle for California's GOP gubernatorial nomination.
According to a Field poll released Friday morning, Whitman holds a 45 percent to 17 percent lead over the state's insurance commissioner Steve Poizner in the Republican primary, with nearly 4 in 10 GOP primary voters undecided. Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, is a billionaire with national party connections. She served as an adviser and surrogate in 2008 for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.
The survey's release comes after former Republican Rep. Tom Campbell dropped his bid for governor and is now running for the Senate in California. A Field Poll released Thursday indicates that Campbell now leads the GOP field in the fight to oust Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. Before dropping out of the governor's race, Campbell was in second place, trailing Whitman but leading Poizner, according to the Field poll.
In a hypothetical general election matchup, the survey indicates that Democratic state attorney general Jerry Brown leads Whitman by 10 points, 46 percent to 36 percent, with nearly 1 in 5 voters undecided, and Brown leads Poizner by 17 points, 48 percent to 31 percent, with just over a fifth of voters undecided. Brown, the former two-term governor from 1975 to 1983, has yet to declare his candidacy for governor. California's current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is term limited and prevented from running for re-election this year.
Washington (CNN) - A heated political debate and charges of sexism erupted on Philadelphia talk radio Wednesday when Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pennsylvania, told Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, to "act like a lady."
Specter and Bachmann appeared on WPHT radio to discuss what President Obama has accomplished in his first year in office. When Specter began to respond to Bachmann's claim that Scott Brown's special election victory in Massachusetts was a repudiation of the Obama administration's policies, Bachmann interjected - to the clear frustration of the longtime Senator.
"I didn't interrupt you," Specter said. "This is beginning to sound like a TV talk show."
When Bachmann interrupted again, Specter angrily responded. "Now wait a minute, I'll stop and you can talk," he said. "I'll treat you like a lady, so act like one."
Washington (CNN) - Comedian Jay Leno will headline the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in May, the group said Friday.
Leno agreed earlier this month to appear at the event, before NBC announced his return to hosting "The Tonight Show," the group said. The network's move was prompted by affiliates protesting the poor ratings of Leno's prime-time show.
The comedian will share the stage with President Obama at the correspondents' dinner at the Washington Hilton. By tradition, presidents fire jokes at the news corps, political opponents and even themselves at the event, where politicians, journalists and celebrities rub elbows.
Leno headlined the 2004, 2000 and 1987 dinners during the administrations of both parties.
(CNN) – Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's bid for Texas governor gets the support of a former commander-in-chief Friday.
According to the Hutchison campaign, former President George H.W. Bush will formally back Hutchison at an event in Houston, Texas. The 4-term senator is challenging fellow Republican and incumbent Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the March 2 Republican primary.
Earlier this week former Secretary of State James Baker endorsed Hutchison. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is also backing her bid to topple Perry. Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is scheduled to campaign with Perry early next month.
Perry was elected lieutenant governor in 1998 and assumed the governorship after incumbent George W. Bush stepped down following the 2000 presidential election. Perry won full terms in 2002 and 2006.
The elder former president Bush has lived in Houston since leaving the White House in early 1993.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser 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.
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CNN: Analysis: High court ruling a game-changer for campaign spending
Campaign 2010 is in full swing: Massachusetts elected its new U.S. senator this week, and the first congressional primaries are just days away.Now the first task for every federal candidate in this midterm election year will be to read the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday on campaign finance for a reality-check road map to their political future. The 183-page decision promises to completely change the way independent spending on elections is conducted.
The Hill: Schumer calls for hearings on SCOTUS decision
The Supreme Court's ruling striking down limits on corporate and union spending in elections is "un-American," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Thursday. Additionally, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a top Senate Democrat who formerly ran their campaign committee, said he would hold hearings on the decision in the coming weeks.
Denver post: Colorado GOP to sue to lift campaign money limits
Colorado Republicans will sue to overturn voter-approved state limits on some campaign contributions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday that tossed out restrictions on corporate involvement in federal races.
Wall Street Journal: Fed's Bernanke Faces Tighter Vote in Senate
Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman will go down to the wire and could be a closer vote than seemed likely just a few weeks ago.
CNN: Obama to focus hard on economy after Democratic loss
President Obama already was planning to put a heavy focus on jobs and the economy in next week's State of the Union address, but his top aides are signaling that pivot is going to be even sharper in the wake of the Democrats' stunning election defeat in Massachusetts.
Boston Globe: Liberal bastions lament as the blue fades
In the days since the unthinkable happened, diehard Democrats have been forced to confront results that suggest Massachusetts votes much the way rest of the country does – blue on the edges with a big red swath in the middle. They have grappled with the possibility that the Commonwealth, until this week viewed by the much of the country as an outpost of extreme liberalism, may not be all that. And that has left them blue – in the other meaning of the word – over Martha Coakley’s defeat.
The Detroit News: Brown's ride drives buzz back to pickups
Scott Brown, the Republican state legislator who this week won the U.S. Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy, got a lot of political mileage out of his 2005 GMC Canyon. The green Canyon, with nearly 200,000 miles on the odometer, co-starred with Brown on the Massachusetts campaign trail and in TV ads.