New York (CNNMoney.com) - A total of 30 states and Washington, D.C., reported rising unemployment rates in January, down from the number in the previous month, according to a government report released Wednesday.
Jobless rates decreased in nine states, according to the Labor Department's monthly report on state unemployment. Eleven states reported no change.
In December, 43 states reported monthy jobless rate increases.
Twenty-five states posted jobless rates lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.7% in January. Eleven states and Washington, D.C., reported rates higher than the national average, down from 17 states and Washington, D.C. posting rates higher than the national average of 10% in December.
The report said all 50 states had an unemployment rate in January that was higher than a year earlier.
(CNN) - Political activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock, best known for walking across the country at the age of 89 in support of overhauling the nation's campaign finance system, died Tuesday night from a chronic respiratory illness at her son's home in Dublin, New Hampshire, according to a family spokeswoman. Haddock had celebrated her 100th birthday on January 24.
Haddock made headlines in 1999 when she embarked on a 3,200-mile trek from Los Angeles, California, to the U.S. Capitol in Washington to advocate on behalf of reducing the role of money in political campaigns.
"Campaign reform is the beginning of everything else," said Haddock in a July 2000 interview with CNN. "There are so many problems in this country that need to be solved, but they need money in order to solve them. And when campaign finance reform has been enacted, that will release a great deal of money."
She was an active supporter of campaign finance legislation authored by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, which was signed into law in 2002.
"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Granny D," said McCain. "Her inspirational efforts and hard work will never be forgotten."
In a separate statement, Feingold called Haddock "one of the most determined and dedicated advocates I have ever known."
Washington (CNN) - Conservative activist Ralph Reed has decided not to run for the Georgia congressional seat being vacated by Rep. John Linder.
Reed said he "can best advance conservative principles" through his consulting firm and his role as chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
"I had to make a choice," Reed said in a statement. "I believe electing 50 to 100 men and women of character and conservative beliefs to Congress and statewide office over the next two election cycles is a more efficacious way to advance the conservative agenda than seeking public office myself in 2010."
He added: "Should that door open in the future, perhaps I will arrive at a different decision, but I know this is the right decision at this time for me and the Reed family."
(CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio has launched the first television ad of the bitter Republican primary fight between himself and Gov. Charlie Crist.
The minute-long spot is partly biographical, highlighting Rubio's heritage as the son of Cuban immigrants, and partly an attack on government spending in Washington.
"As the son of exiles, I understand what it means to lose the gift of freedom. And that's why I know we cannot and will not allow America to fail at this time – in this way," Rubio says in the ad, speaking directly into the camera.
"Washington is broken and too many politicians don't get it. America needs Republicans who will stand up to Barack Obama – not join him," he tells viewers. "Leaders who will stand for conservative values – not sacrifice them."
Rubio's team is not providing details on how much money is being spent on the ad, saying only that it will run on the Fox News Channel and "across Florida."
Ramallah, West Bank (CNN) - The United States will hold both Israel and the Palestinians responsible for any steps that make peace between them more difficult, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday.
Biden, in the region meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders, repeated strong criticism he made of an Israeli move a day earlier.
He said Tuesday he "condemned" Israel's decision to build 1,600 new apartments on land which both Israel and the Palestinians claim.
The Palestinians contend the area is in East Jerusalem; Israel's Interior Ministry says it is not.
"The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel," Biden said Tuesday.
(CNN) - Sen. Scott Brown will reflect on "his family background, his early career and his ascent to the office of Massachusetts senator" in a new memoir, the publisher HarperCollins announced Wednesday.
Brown's office said last month that the Republican star was in the process of landing a book deal and had hired Washington attorney Bob Barnett to help navigate the process.
HarperCollins, which also published former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's best-selling memoir "Going Rogue," acquired the rights to the Brown book and will publish it in early 2011. The publisher called Brown's win in January's Massachusetts special Senate election "one of the biggest political coups of the decade."
"I am humbled to have the opportunity to share my personal story in hopes to inform, encourage and inspire others," Brown said in a statement.
The publisher said Brown will submit his deal to the Senate Ethics Committee for approval.
"Scott Brown's remarkable rise to the US Senate is merely one part of a life spent fighting for the values he believes in," said HarperCollins Senior Vice President Jonathan Burnham. "His own story is one of extraordinary courage, persistence, and hope - it is full of surprises and will make for a vitally important book that will inspire others to follow Senator Brown's footsteps."
(CNN) - The campaign arm of House Democrats announced Wednesday that 13 candidates gunning for Republican-held seats are being welcomed into a program that offers them a considerable financial leg up in their midterm races.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the candidates were admitted to the "Red to Blue" program by "surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they will work to create jobs and stand up for the middle class."
"These candidates are generating excitement back home and are making the case to voters that their commitment to creating jobs and standing up for the middle class is far better than turning back the clock to the failed Bush policies of the past," DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said in a statement.
In 2008, members of the Red to Blue program received more than $26 million from DCCC fundraising efforts.
See the list of challengers who qualified for the "Red to Blue" program after the jump:
(CNN) - Rick Santorum is fighting back against charges that he's a "pro-life fraud."
The former senator from Pennsylvania, and possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate, appeared before an influential Christian group in Iowa on Tuesday night and spent much of his speech defending his record of opposition to abortion rights.
"There are a lot of people who vote pro-life. There are very few people who stand up and fight pro-life. There is a reason for that. You pay a price if you stand up in the foxhole and fight for pro-life instead of just voting for pro-life," Santorum told the Iowa Christian Alliance, according to Iowa news reports and confirmed by a Santorum spokeswoman.
The abortion issue came about after an anonymous recorded telephone message began hitting some Iowa households Monday afternoon attacking Santorum ahead of his Des Moines appearance. In the 40-second call, an unidentified female voice blasted Santorum as "a pro-life fraud" because of his past support for former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Republican-turned Democratic Pennsylvania Arlen Specter, both of whom support abortion rights.
Santorum, an ardent opponent of abortion rights, campaigned for both lawmakers during his two terms in the Senate. He has said publicly that he regrets backing then Republican Specter, who switched to the Democratic Party last year.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama will meet Wednesday with Haitian President Rene Preval to discuss relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti, the White House said in a statement.
"The president will speak with President Preval about how the international community can best support the government of Haiti and the Haitian people as they rebuild and create a foundation for a brighter future," the statement said.
Haiti is struggling to recover from a massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck January 12. Much of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, was destroyed, and more than 217,000 people were killed, according to the latest figures from international relief organizations.
Washington has already provided $700 million in aid to Haiti. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday a donors' conference is planned in New York for the end of March. More than half of all United States households have made private contributions to Haitian relief, Clinton said.
(CNN) - Florida Senate hopeful Marco Rubio never charged a back wax to his Republican Party of Florida credit card, his campaign spokesman told CNN Tuesday, rebutting Gov. Charlie Crist's curious allegation about his Republican primary rival's grooming habits.
So what exactly did Rubio put on his tab during his $134 visit to an upscale Miami salon when he was Florida House speaker?
Rubio's spokesman Alex Burgos has the details:
"Marco paid $20 for a haircut with a razor on the neck, and he bought some items that went into a silent auction, including gift certificates," he said.
Burgos said the salon in question, Churchill's Barber Shop, sells "travel kits and other gift sets that people usually buy around the holidays as gifts."