Steve Benen: ….. “It’s safe to say Speaker John Boehner does not agree with President Obama’s suggestion on Tuesday that Americans are better off now than they were when he took office. “Are you kidding me?!” Boehner said loudly in response to a reporter’s question on the comment.”
…. Obviously, national conditions aren’t close to where they need to be. …. Maybe, if guys like Boehner would start passing jobs bills and stop holding the economy back on purpose, the public would start to feel like the country is on the right track again.
But for those who take reality seriously, there’s no real question as to whether the country is better off now than in January 2009:
Then the nation was hemorrhaging jobs; now it’s gaining jobs.
Then the economy was shrinking; now the economy is growing.
Then the American automotive industry was on the verge of collapse; now it’s starting to thrive.
Then taxpayers were sending money to Wall Street; now taxpayers are being paid back.
Then Osama bin Laden was targeting Americans and our allies; now he’s dead and al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated.
Then U.S. troops were headed into the Middle East in greater numbers; now they’re headed home with their heads held high.
Republicans, including John Boehner, drove the United States into a pretty deep ditch during the Bush/Cheney era, and conditions are still pretty ugly. That doesn’t change the simple fact that the nation is much stronger now than the day the president was inaugurated ….
AP: A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.
Washington Post: Car buyers were out in force in October, snapping up trucks and SUVs and taking advantage of deals on Japanese cars.
U.S. car and truck sales were expected to top 1 million in October, a surprising number for a month when sales are usually slow. When adjusted for seasonal factors, that would be the best pace since the Cash for Clunkers program in August 2009.
Mediaite: In a Quinnipiac poll taken Oct. 25-31, embattled GOP juggernaut Herman Cain continued to show amazing staying power …. (but) The real news from this poll, taken before most of the fallout from Politico‘s alleged sexual harassment expose, might be that some rays of sunshine are finally hitting President Obama.
….. President Obama gained six points on his approval rating … and is now beating all Republican challengers by margins of 5-16 points. The President has seen steady progress in the polls since rolling out his American Jobs Act in September, taking it on the road, and taking the fight to the Republicans who oppose it.
Elsewhere in the poll, Democrats opened up a lead on the generic House ballot, beating Republicans 42-36, after tying them at 39 in October.
AP: Michelle Obama has presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 community-based, after-school programs, including for at-risk kids.
The programs use dance, theater, writing, music, history and other art mediums to inspire teen moms and other young people and help them reach their potential. The first lady said at a White House ceremony Wednesday that the programs show that the arts are a lifeline – not a luxury – for many of these kids.
Most of the participants graduate from high school or earn a GED and go on to college.
The 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are presented on behalf of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.
MSNBC: NBC News has confirmed that one woman received a settlement from the National Restaurant Association after complaining about inappropriate sexual conduct by Herman Cain.
NBC News is not disclosing the name of the woman nor characterizing who she is. Cain denied the allegations, saying on FOX this morning he was “falsely accused.” “I have never sexually harassed anyone, anyone,” he said, “and absolutely, these are false accusations.”
Despite being the chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association, he said he was unaware of any settlement with the accusers, though he didn’t deny it. “If the restaurant association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it,” he claimed, “and I hope it wasn’t for much. If there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other officers at the restaurant association.”
TPM: On Fox News this afternoon, Herman Cain dismissed the Politico story dogging his campaign this week in the strongest possible terms. There’s only one problem with his story of how the Politico piece came to be: his chief of staff blew a large hole in it already.
On Fox, Cain said that Politico came to him with two anonymous tales of sexual harassment settlements reached while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association. And that’s why he didn’t respond to Politico’s request for comment.
….. That line of reasoning is fine, as far as it goes, except Cain neglected to mention one thing …. his Chief of Staff and famous smoker Mark Block confirmed to TPM that Politico’s reporting of the events was accurate.
…. So Cain’s strong words to Fox are already being found to be less-than-true. That’s not a good sign for a campaign trying to put a tough story behind it.
As you regulars know, I’ve been stamping my feet for some time now about big news orgs that amplify the GOP’s claim to having a “jobs plan” without asking independent experts whether Republican fiscal prescriptions would actually … create jobs.
So kudos to the Associated Press for weighing in with a bracing analysis that calls BS on the GOP’s ideas for job creation, though this one is focused on the 2012 GOP presidential candidates:
Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation’s ills in two vital areas, the economy and housing.….
President Barack Obama signs an executive order, to head off drug shortages and to prevent price gouging, in the Oval Office, October 31. In attendance was Pharmacy Manager for perioperative services Bonnie Frawley (L), Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (2nd L), Jay Cuetara (2nd R), a 49-year-old cancer patient who lives in San Francisco, CA, and FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg (R).
Daniel Bice (JS Online): Herman Cain’s two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses ….. something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents.
….. Election law experts say the transactions raise a host of questions for the private organization, which billed itself as a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the Cain team. “If the records accurately reflect what occurred, this is way out of bounds,” said a Washington, D.C.-based election lawyer….
Michael Maistelman, a Wisconsin campaign attorney, agreed. “The number of questionable and possibly illegal transactions conducted on behalf of Herman Cain is staggering” ….
Steve Benen: This looks awfully bad for Team Cain. The report points to evidence that two of Cain’s top aides set up a now-defunct non-profit entity that illegally financed the campaign, effectively helping it get off the ground. There’s nothing in FEC filings to suggest the campaign ever paid Prosperity USA back for the substantial funds it spent on Cain’s behalf.