President Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, Mich., April 18 (Pete Souza)
“I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn’t make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream.”
On Wednesday, the state reported that the unemployment rate fell to 8.5% for March, a level not seen since August 2008 and down 2 percentage points from a year ago. The jobless rate in metro Detroit fell to 9.4%, down 2.3 percentage points from a year ago.
…. And a PNC Bank survey of small companies in Michigan found that 35% plan to hire full-time or part-time employees sometime in the next six months …. worker rolls have increased across various industries, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 22,000 more workers in southeast Michigan this year than last year.
…. That increase in workers is partly responsible for a first-quarter, 47% increase in housing starts in southeast Michigan when compared with the same three months last year….
2:20: PBO welcomes the BCS National Champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide to the White House to honor their 14th championship
4:20: PBO attends a campaign event in DC (closed press)
National Journal: A big lead among women voters is fueling a slight advantage for President Obama in the early phase of his contest with likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to a poll published Thursday morning by Quinnipiac University.
In line with other national polls published this week, the new Quinnipiac poll showed Obama with a narrow lead over Romney, in this case, 46 percent to 42 percent. Among women, Obama’s enjoys a yawning lead of 49 to 39 percent….
ThinkProgress: As part of his attempt to appear more relateable, presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney sat with a handful of regular, working Americans in Pennsylvania today to discuss their plight in the struggling economy. But the Romney campaign may not have vetted the attendees to make sure they were sufficiently anti-tax before giving them access to the candidate and his picnic table full of lemonade and pretzels.
Charles Pierce: Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The MCLIV
Business Insider: Despite the ground Mitt Romney has gained in recent polls, he will be in the record books for a statistic he would probably rather forget.
Romney is the least likable presidential candidate in 30 years, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. Since Walter Mondale. And he is the first candidate ever that more people view unfavorably than favorably.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny came to Washington bearing a few special gifts for President Barack Obama.
Among them, an official certificate of Irish heritage. “These are rare, as rare as the man himself,” Kenny said, presenting the document to Obama at a White House reception.
The president, without missing a beat, said: “This will have a special place of honor, alongside my birth certificate.”
First Lady Michelle Obama gestures as she pretends to pour a pint of beer alongside Fionnuala Kenny
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley performs with his Celtic rock band O’Malley’s March during a St. Patrick’s Day Reception at the White House
President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and others applaud as Enda Kenny, Taoiseach of Ireland, is introduced during a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 20, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama visits the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., with his Irish cousin, Henry Healy, center, and Ollie Hayes, a pub owner in Moneygall, Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama celebrates St. Patrick’s Day at the Dubliner Irish pub in Washington, March 17
Robert Shrum (The Week): The GOP’s desperate hunt for anyone but Mitt Romney – Herman Cain unravels. Rick Perry stumbles. And Republicans keep praying that someone will rescue them from the flip-flopping Romney.
… Maybe tea is a hallucinogen; maybe the GOP is demented – and it will nominate him (Cain) anyway. If that happened, it’s certain that President Obama would win by even more then he did in 2008.
….. He’s the latest in a procession of preposterous Republican candidates who have soared across the party’s firmament … The GOP’s primary voters have been relentlessly looking for Mr. Un-Romney…..
Alan Krueger (White House): Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough.
Private sector payrolls increased by 104,000, and overall payroll employment rose by 80,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 9.0 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high.
Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 20 straight months, for a total of 2.8 million jobs over that period. We need faster economic growth to put more Americans back to work. Today’s report provides further evidence for why it is so important that Congress pass the President’s American Jobs Act ….
Timothy Egan (NYT): For a Republican Party that has spent the better part of its presidential campaign proving that most of its candidates are not smarter than a fifth grader, the real scandal around frontrunner-of-the-moment Herman Cain is not what he knows. It’s what he doesn’t know.
…. China, said Cain with his clueless urgency, is “trying to develop nuclear capability.” Anyone who is gobsmacked by this category five level of ignorance concerning a country that has had nuclear weapons for more than 45 years has not been paying attention. Cain makes Sarah Palin, with her eagle-eyed view of Russia from Alaska, sound like a Council of Foreign Relations scholar on a gasbag high.
The clowns have finally taken over the circus, and I mean this with all due respect to those who labor with painted faces and oversized shoes…..
Steve Benen: On the Senate floor yesterday afternoon, Senate Republicans killed a popular jobs bill, despite the fact that a majority of senators supported the legislation. But the public’s understanding of what transpired will be shaped by the media’s coverage…..
…. CNN’s headline, at least online, read, “Competing infrastructure spending measures fail in Senate.” Here’s the lede: “In a pair of votes aimed more at making political points than law, the Senate rejected competing Democratic and Republican proposals to boost construction of roadways and other infrastructure projects.”….
Politico’s report was even worse. The headline read, “Senate gridlock: Both parties block jobs bills.” And check out the lede: “Rival Democratic and Republican jobs bills failed in the Senate on Thursday, the latest sign of the partisan gridlock gripping Washington…..”.
No, no, a thousand times, no. This just isn’t what happened…..