(CNN) - Christina Romer, the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Friday the latest unemployment figures show "encouraging signs."
"While unemployment remains a severe problem, today’s employment report contains encouraging signs of gradual labor market healing. The unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point and employment rose in a number of industries, though overall employment fell slightly," Romer wrote on post on the White House blog.
Full blog post after the jump:
(CNN) – Indiana Rep. Mike Pence will keynote a Republican dinner in New Hampshire next month, a move that is certain to fuel speculation he is interested in making a run for the White House.
Pence, who recently ruled out a bid to challenge Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is the keynote speaker for the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner on March 19 in Bedford, New Hampshire. The event is a fundraiser for the New Hampshire Republican Party.
Pence also visited Iowa and South Carolina in recent months, two other early presidential proving grounds.
Washington (CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is criticizing the latest government unemployment figures out Friday:
“Close to one year ago, President Obama and Congressional Democrats passed their $862 billion stimulus package promising it would ‘fix the economy’ and keep unemployment below 8 percent. Unfortunately, these have proven to be empty promises. More than 20,000 Americans lost their jobs in the month of January, meaning more than 2.8 million Americans have lost their jobs since the stimulus passed, and 171,000 workers became discouraged last month from seeking work. The resiliency of the American economy given its current challenges is incredible but later today President Obama plans to travel to Maryland to tout his binge spending agenda that will kill, not create, jobs. Congressional Democrats that choose to join President Obama in doubling down on his costly plans will face the harsh reality of being out of a job in November.”
Washington (CNN) - Job growth is expected to take center stage Friday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addresses the increasingly anxious leadership of her party at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting.
Pelosi's remarks will coincide with the release of the Labor Department's January employment report. President Barack Obama will stress the need for small business job growth later in the day at a separate event in Maryland.
While the president claimed credit Thursday night for breaking "the back of the recession," the jobless rate has remained high at 10 percent.
Politically, Pelosi and Obama find themselves in an uncomfortable position as their party's centrist and liberal wings are at odds over the best way for Democrats to recover from a string of recent election losses.
Moderates facing tough challenges in the looming midterm elections are stressing issues such as the need to reduce spiraling deficits. Progressives warn that a failure to more aggressively pursue issues such as health care reform will depress turnout this November from an already deflated and angry political base.
In Congress, Democrats remain divided over how to proceed in the wake of Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown's upset victory in the race for Ted Kennedy's seat, which stripped Democrats of their 60-seat Senate supermajority. Brown's win gave Senate Republicans the power to block most legislative initiatives.
For the near term, however, most senior Democrats appear to be in agreement on the need to stress job growth. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Thursday that he could call for a vote on a new job stimulus bill as soon as Monday.
He indicated he'd like to see congressional approval of a measure before lawmakers recess for the President's Day holiday next Friday.
Washington (CNN) - The unemployment rate in the United States fell to 9.7 percent in January, the Labor Department said Friday.
The nation's unemployment rate was 10 percent in December and November. The 10.2 percent unemployment rate for October was the highest in the United States since 1983.
Nashville, Tennessee (CNN) - One third of Americans have a favorable view of the Tea Party movement, but a plurality have no opinion at all, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 26 percent of the public has an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement and that four in ten have never heard of the movement or don't know enough to form an opinion. The poll's Friday morning release comes as what's being billed as the first national Tea Party convention begins its first full day of meetings Nashville, Tennessee.
"The Tea Party movement is a blank slate to many Americans, which is not surprising for a political movement that is only about a year old," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Not surprisingly, opinion breaks along partisan and ideological lines."
According to the survey, Democrats by a two-to-one margin have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement; Republicans like it by a three-to-one margin. Among Independents, 35 percent of Independents holding a positive view and 24 percent a negative view.
TOPICS: Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin
(CNN) - In just 24 hours, the three-way Republican Senate primary in California has descended into a squabble over bloated budgets, "demon sheep" and now ... mutton.
The latest jab comes courtesy of Tom Campbell - the brainy budget wizard and former Republican congressman doing battle with Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore for the GOP nomination. On Thursday, Campbell finally hit back at Fiorina for her campaign's bizarre new Web video accusing Campbell of being a fiscal liberal - an ominous three minute clip depicting gathering storm clouds and evil-looking livestock.
The video instantly became the subject of Internet mockery when it was posted on Wednesday.
Earlier: DeVore campaign slams Fiorina video
"Carly Fiorina's campaign is in full Mutton Meltdown mode, with an increasingly bizarre fixation on farm animals," Campbell spokesman Jamie Fisfis said in a statement Thursday. "She's admitted missing a decade's worth of opportunities to vote for budget reform, but instead of offering solutions, all she has for voters are dogs, cats and demon-sheep."
Fisfis said that "contrary to Carly Fiorina's insulting portrayal of fiscal conservatives as sheep, these are in fact involved people who engage the issues and ask tough questions. And unlike Carly Fiorina, they have fought alongside Tom Campbell on the front lines of spending reform and supported these reforms with their votes."
UPDATE: The Fiorina campaign argues that the "demon sheep" buzz is only drawing more attention to their message - that Campbell can't be trusted when it comes to taxes and spending.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com
CNNMoney: Congress OKs $1.9 trillion boost in debt limit
The House on Thursday approved a record $1.9 trillion increase in the cap on how much the government can borrow. The House also approved a measure that imposes tougher budget rules on lawmakers.
CNN: Obama calls for talks with GOP on health care, then vote by Congress
President Obama called Thursday for high-level talks with Republicans to work out a compromise on health care legislation, then putting the resulting bill to a vote in Congress….House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that the chamber would vote next week on one provision of its health care bill, which would drop the current anti-trust exemption for the insurance industry that allows practices such as market allocation.
Wall Street Journal: Keeping Faith, Courting Conservatives
President Barack Obama's willingness to keep Bush-era policies on government-backed religious charities opposed by many liberals is helping to woo traditionally Republican evangelical leaders who can influence key blocs of voters.
CNN: Republican Brown sworn in as new U.S. senator from Massachusetts
Republican Scott Brown was sworn in Thursday as the new U.S. senator from Massachusetts to fill the seat formerly held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and immediately signaled opposition to President Obama's spending plans.
Boston Globe: In Kirk’s farewell, a call for return to unity of Kennedy era
Paul Kirk said a poignant goodbye yesterday to the Senate, invoking the memory of the man he briefly replaced, Edward M. Kennedy, as he implored his colleagues to adopt Kennedy’s bipartisan spirit and get to work on fixing the nation’s problems.But the Senate Kirk holds dearly in his memories no longer exists, the Massachusetts Democrat lamented as he completed his last day in office. And the audience for his farewell Senate address provided a brutal punctuation for his remarks: not a single Republican, senator nor staff worker, showed up.
Washington Post: U.S. commanders in Afghanistan face tougher discipline for battlefield failures
The U.S. military has reprimanded an unusually large number of commanders for battlefield failures in Afghanistan in recent weeks, reflecting a new push by the top brass to hold commanders responsible for major incidents in which troops are killed or wounded, said senior military officials.