A year ago today: The President holds Arianna Holmes, 3, before taking a departure photo with members of her family in the Oval Office, Feb. 1, 2012 (Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
11:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
12:05: VP Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Munich International Airport
2:15: President Obama awards the National Medals of Science and the National Medals of Technology and Innovation
Steve Benen: Expectations for job creation were pretty close to perfect according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the economy adding 157,000 jobs in January. The big news, however, is in the revisions.
….. that’s where we see the genuinely good news. Not only were the job totals for November and December revised up considerably – 127,000 jobs combined – but for the entire 2012 calendar year, we learned this morning of an additional 335,000 jobs that had not been previously reported.
That means 2.17 million jobs were created just last year, which is the best annual total since 2005, and tops seven of the eight years Bush/Cheney was in office….
Steve Benen: With the revised job totals published this morning, we now know that 2012 was a better year for job creation than previously believed – 2.17 million jobs were created just last year overall, 2.24 million in the private sector. When I noted that 2012 was the best year for jobs since 2005, and better than seven of the eight years Bush/Cheney was in office, some of you were skeptical. I received a few “that can’t be right” emails.
Bloomberg: U.S. stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 14,000, as data showed hiring increased in January after accelerating more than previously estimated at the end of 2012 and manufacturing expanded.
…. “The jobs report shows that the corner was turned,” said Richard Sichel, who oversees about $1.8 billion as chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co. “The revision from the prior month is positive. There’s indication that hiring will pick up over the course of the year”….
Bloomberg: Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded more than forecast in January, reaching a nine-month high and showing the industry is starting to improve.
…. Stocks extended gains after the report showed gains in orders, production and factory employment after a fourth-quarter acceleration in consumer purchases and a rebound in business spending. The housing recovery and stabilization in overseas markets indicate factories may keep adding to growth in the world’s largest economy this year.
“Manufacturing is on the mend,” said Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York. “Things are getting better as we begin the year.”
Charles Pierce: There really shouldn’t be as much low farce in confirming a Cabinet appointment than was on display as the Senate Armed Services Committee got its chance to blow off steam and posture in front of Chuck Hagel in Washington. If it wasn’t John McCain, bellowing his outrage that the world no longer recognizes his obvious geopolitical genius and that the world has not rewarded him with laurel leaves and flagons of the finest mead. So he spends six minutes trying to get Hagel to admit how brilliant he was to have recommended the “surge” in Iraq. Hagel declines and McCain’s fumes, probably because he’ll have to wait until Sunday morning to get the kind of fluffing that’s the only reason he’s still in public life any more. Well, that, and a war with Iran.
Steve Benen: Much of the political world was transfixed yesterday by the grilling Chuck Hagel received by the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the consensus seems to be that the Defense Secretary nominee generally failed to impress…..
What struck me as more interesting than Hagel’s halting answers were the quality of the questions, or in this case, the lack thereof.
….. going through the transcript, one might be tempted to believe there are only three countries on the planet – the United States, Israel, and Iran – and that Iran poses some kind of existential threat to America’s future.
Al Qaeda wasn’t deemed important, nor was North Korea. China was brought up only a handful of times, and the use of drones wasn’t mentioned at all.
…. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, John McCain is–by far–the recipient of the most generous donations from “gun rights” organizations. He receives about $400,000 more than John Thune (R-SD), who received the second highest total amount of monetary gifts from pro-gun groups.
Michael Tomasky: How Liberals Can Win on Guns ….. Where are all these reasonable gun owners and NRA members? As far as the public discourse goes, they exist only in these polls. No one’s ever actually seen one.
So how about some liberal group put some money into finding these people and putting them on the air? Seeing Gabby Giffords yesterday was powerful. But it would be powerful in a different way — and probably more persuasive to people on the fence — to see a stereotypically burly white guy with a light drawl standing in front of his gun case with his arms crossed, looking as if he’s just about to say, “Fuck you, liberals,” when instead what comes out of his mouth is something like, “My buddies and I don’t need extended clips to hunt deer. And I look around and see these slaughters, and I think nobody else needs extended clips either.”
BuzzFeed: Gov. Chris Christie paid tribute Thursday night to President Barack Obama, thanking him for his help in successfully passing the Hurricane Sandy aid bill in January…. Delivering his keynote speech at a New Jersey Chamber of Commerce dinner …. Christie told the crowd he was invited to the White House to discuss the Sandy aid package about three days before the president was set to send his proposal for the bill to Congress.
“I won’t talk about how our conversation went — that’s between me and the president,” said Christie. “But I’ll let you all know it was a lot of fun.” ….. “I want to thank the president — he’s been extraordinary”….
Washingtonian: Spotted Thursday morning at the White House: a team from Vogue moving cameras into the residence. What could that be about? Well, it turns out it’s a photo shoot of First Lady Michelle Obama for the magazine’s cover, most likely the March issue.
President Barack Obama gestures during the official photo at the sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. Obama is flanked by Presidents Sebastian Pinera of Chile, front left, and Otto Perez Molina of Guatemala, front right. Pictured behind the three leaders are Presidents Porfirio Lobo of Honduras, middle row, left, Felipe Calderon of Mexico, middle row, second from left, Ricardo Martinelli of Panama, middle row, right, and Trinidad and Tobago
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during a bilateral meeting at the Americas Summit in Cartagena. April 14