Don’t forget, the full version of The Road We’ve Traveled is released tonight (8:0 ET) – sign up here (at OFA) to see it first
Bloomberg: Claims for jobless benefits dropped last week in the U.S., matching the lowest level in four years, more evidence the labor market is improving.
Applications for unemployment insurance payments fell by 14,000 to 351,000 in the week ended March 10, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 357,000….
Companies have slowed the pace of firings and are expanding their workforces as sales and confidence improve and the threat of financial contagion from a European default diminishes. A Labor Department report last week showed job growth in February capped the best six months since 2006.
CNN: More veterans are coming back from war and getting back to work in the civilian job force, thanks to efforts by both employers and the government, as well as the improving economy.
The jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has fallen to 7.6%, well below the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3%, and nearly five percentage points below the 12.5% rate for veterans a year ago.
11:0 AM: Vice President Biden speaks at a campaign event in Toledo, Ohio (CNN live streaming)
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
Charles Blow (NYT): The Republican Party has a big problem. Huge!
Their likely nominee isn’t much liked by the base of the party. Yet even as he loses primaries in the most conservative parts of the country, he continues to stack up delegates. He is Mitt of the Indomitable Math…. but according to some new polls, the primary season is taking a devastating toll on Romney and the Republican brand as a whole, fueling something of a surge for the president.
The findings of a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday show that President Obama has steadily increased his lead over Mitt Romney in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, which now stands at a whopping 12 points, 54 percent to 42 percent. These results echoed a Reuters/Ipsos poll released earlier this week that showed Obama leading Romney by 11 points, 52 percent to 41 percent. As Reuters pointed out, that is “nearly double the margin from February.”
AFP: Vice President Joe Biden will Thursday seek to set the contours of the 2012 general election, lauding President Barack Obama as a man with a “spine of steel” who fights for the middle class.
Biden will deliver the first of a series of speeches in the swing state of Ohio …. “Ours is a philosophy that values the role of workers in the success of a business, and values the middle class in the success of the economy,” Biden will say, according to excerpts of his speech released by the campaign.
“Stated simply, we’re about promoting the private sector. (Republicans) are about protecting the privileged sector. We’re a fair shot, and a fair shake. They’re about no rules, no risk. And no accountability”…
Biden will also praise Obama for rescuing the US auto industry with an unpopular $80 billion bailout opposed by many Republicans, but which has nursed the iconic sector back to health. “He said, ‘we are not going to give up on a million jobs, and the iconic industry America invented. Not without a fight’.”
“The President and I have a fundamental commitment to dealing the middle class back in to the American economy. And ultimately that’s what this election is all about. It’s about a choice. A system that trusts the workers on the line, instead of just listening to the folks in the suites. That’s a stark choice. To my mind it isn’t a choice at all.”
Michael Tomasky on Mitt’s Months of Misery in the Primaries to Come. How long can this go on? Pretty darn long. Take a look at the calendar …. He’ll have lots of time to fix things up, if he is the nominee. But think back about how your own view of Mitt Romney has changed in the last six months. Half a year ago, I’d say most people thought: successful, smooth, maybe a little too smooth, but formidable. Now? He’s a punch line. And a punching bag. And the calendar shows that he’s going to continue to be both for a while yet.
Greg Sargent: You constantly hear top Democrats and neutral commentators warning that Mitt Romney’s embrace of extreme positions on immigration have effectively dashed his hopes of making inroads among Latinos in the general election …. this sentiment is now being privately voiced to the Romney campaign by top Republicans, who worry his lurches to the right are undoing years of GOP outreach to a consistuency whose share of the vote will only grow in the years ahead.
The worry has been prompted by a recent poll showing only 14 percent of Latinos support Romney over Barack Obama…
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talk with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Mrs. Samantha Cameron on the Truman Balcony of the White House, March 14, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
See the rest of the sequence at Messynessychic, it’s flippin’ hilarious
WH: President Obama was wrapping up an interview with Mario Andres Moreno for Univision Miami’s Channel 23 at the White House in May when the conversation turned to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bulls were one game away from facing the Miami Heat and a friendly wager was struck … if the Bulls won, Moreno would send the President some Cuban Fritas and if the Heat won, the President would send Moreno some fully loaded Chicago Dogs.
As fate would have it, the Bulls lost to the Heat and Moreno won the bet.
Last week, as promised, a large package of hot dogs with all the fixins arrived at Channel 23’s offices in Miami with everything needed to bring the Chicago Dog experience to the Sunshine State. Inside the insulated box were packages of all beef hot dogs, poppy seed buns, yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle spears, sport peppers and celery salt – as well as a note from President Obama himself…
During the evening news broadcast, Mario Andres Moreno sat in his anchor’s chair with his Chicago Dog waiting in front of him as he recounted the story with his co-anchors. A screen shot behind them featured a picture of the President, a hot dog, and the tag, “Palabra Cumplida”- “Kept His Word.”