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After its Dec. 13 meeting, the Fed issued a policy statement that portrayed the U.S. economy as improving slightly. The central bank declined to take any additional steps to boost growth.

In January, the Fed will release an interest rate forecast for the fourth quarter of 2012 and for the next few calendar years, the minutes show. It will update that forecast four times a year.

The minutes also suggest the Fed could be poised to launch a new step to invigorate the economy. Some members favored bolder action, but said they wanted to wait until the more explicit communication policy was in place.


Romney starts Florida ad campaign

DES MOINES — Mitt Romney’s campaign is going on the air in Florida.

Hours before Iowans started the first test of Republican candidates, the Romney campaign announced it will begin running an ad in Florida that touts him as a leader of “steadiness and constancy.” It also highlights his 42-year marriage to his wife, Ann.

The campaign has aired the same ad in Iowa and other early voting states.

The decision to go on Florida’s airwaves shows Mr. Romney’s confidence and that he’s already looking beyond Tuesday’s contest in Iowa and the New Hampshire primary a week later. The Florida vote is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Mr. Romney has said he thinks he will win the Republican presidential nomination.


Carter’s tells Obama: Stop alienating voters

ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter has some advice for President Obama as he gears up for the November election: Don’t alienate voters with controversial positions.

The Georgia Democrat told the Associated Press on Tuesday that just about everything he did alienated voters, such as sealing a treaty to hand over the Panama Canal and establishing diplomatic ties with China.

Mr. Carter said: “If your main goal is to get re-elected, avoid a controversial subject as much as you can in the first term.”

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