President Barack Obama speaks to Nike Employees and other Oregonians at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The President spoke about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pacts which include the U.S. in a trade agreement with 11 other nations
President Barack Obama high-fives a little boy after his remarks on trade at Nike corporate headquarters
First Lady Michelle Obama, joined by Dr. Jill Biden speaks to an audience of mothers and children during their annual Mother’s Day Tea to honor military-connected mothers at the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama reacts as a little girl gives her a gift
President Barack Obama inspects a guard of honor during his welcoming ceremony
Wing commander Puja Thakur of the Indian Air Force leads the guard of honor
First Post: Wing Commander Puja Thakur Leads Guard Of Honour for Obama, Scores A Win For Modi Govt
US President Barack Obama’s visit to India for the Republic Day parade is on the path of turning out to be a gigantic public relations success for the Narendra Modi government. Just two days after the Prime Minister launched the government’s ambitious ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign, the country witnessed the first guard of honour in the country’s history led by a woman officer. Wing commander Puja Thakur of the Indian Air Force led the guard of honour in the Raj Bhavan in what is being hailed as a inspiring move by the Modi government.
NDTV reported: “President Obama was given a 21-gun salute at the forecourt of the majestic presidential palace, after which Wing Commander Thakur walked him for the inspection of the Guard of Honour. She is the first woman officer to lead a tri-services Guard of Honour.” Thakur told NDTV that while she was proud of the fact that she was allowed to lead the guard of honour, she really hoped that the incident inspired more women to join the armed forces in the country.
President Barack Obama pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat
President Barack Obama folds his hands in a traditional Indian greeting gesture, as Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi laugh during a ceremonial reception at the Indian presidential Palace in New Delhi
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during the annual Mother’s Day tea to honor military mothers at the White House. Part of the Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden also helped military kids create Mother’s Day cards and homemade gifts, which the children presented to their mothers and grandmothers.
ABC News: First Lady Praises Her Mom At Mother’s Day Event
Extending the Mother’s Day celebration by a day, Michelle Obama on Monday saluted military mothers for the sacrifices they make both for their families and their country, and she honored her own mother as the person who keeps her “standing up straight on my feet.” The first lady joked that her mother, Marian Robinson, “never comes to anything” at the White House, except this annual Mother’s Day tea for military moms. Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, co-host the event as part of Joining Forces, their nationwide initiative to encourage the public to support military families and veterans. Speaking of her mother, Mrs. Obama said the event “gives me an opportunity, once a year, to embarrass her by publicly stating how much my mom has meant to me.” Mrs. Robinson lives in the White House. She sat in the front row for the East Room event.
“There is no way I would be standing up straight on my feet if it weren’t for my mom, who is always there to look after our girls, to love them and to be mad at me when I’m disciplining them,” she told dozens of military mothers, grandmothers and children. Mrs. Obama said mother also has “been that shoulder for me to lean on.” “I can always go up to her room and cry, complain, argue and she just says, ‘Go on back down there,'” Mrs. Obama said. “So if my mom reflects the love and support the moms here have given to their families, then we’re in a good place here.” Near the end of the ceremony, a girl raised her hand and, in a tearful voice, told Mrs. Obama she didn’t get to do all the crafts with the first lady. Mrs. Obama linked the girl with an aide and promised that “you’re going to do every single craft that we have.”
Singer-songwriter Norah Jones holds her new baby as the stands next to her mother Sue Jones after singing during the annual Mother’s Day tea to honor military mothers, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden visit with children working on crafts as they host their annual Mother’s Day tea to honor military mothers
In an unexpected twist, the political world starts today with circumstances that look eerily similar to those from 24 hours ago: a bipartisan Senate deal is taking shape and a fractured House remains unpredictable. The point of yesterday, apparently, was to waste a day, humiliate House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and bring the nation just a little closer to default.
After House Republicans rejected a series of desperate attempts by Boehner to make them happy, attention turned back to the Senate, which waited until after the lower chamber imploded to renew its talks. By all appearances, the basic framework of an agreement is in place.
Michael Tomasky: Senate Debt Ceiling Deal Won’t Mean This Chaos Is Over. Far From It.
Tuesday might have ended with the Senate on the cusp of a deal to avert a default, but it also featured Boehner bowing and scraping to his House crazies to come up with a competing plan that failed.
This is a sad and sickening spectacle, like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. Not as bad as Watergate, you say? I beg to differ. However this turns out this has been in its way worse than Watergate. Watergate ultimately vindicated our system against the machinations of one sociopath. It took time, because he was a president. But even he ultimately observed democratic norms and, when cornered, did the honorable thing.
Today, we have a clavern of sociopaths who know nothing of honor, and we have no easy way to stop them. Except at the ballot box. Except that they’ve rigged that, too, with their House districts. They’ve rigged the whole game so that they light the match and then point at President Obama and shout: “Look! Fire!” And overseeing it all is House Speaker John Boehner, as of Tuesday officially the worst high-ranking elected officer in the history of the United States.
Here’s how grave the House Republicans’ condition has become: They’re now in the care of a mortician.
In the early minutes of a marathon meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday morning, Rep. Steve Southerland, a funeral director from Florida, rose to suggest the lawmakers sing “Amazing Grace” — and his colleagues joined him in a rendition of the burial hymn.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
It was an appropriate choice, for the House GOP is practicing its own form of mortuary science: It is burying both the Republican brand and America’s standing in the world.
…. A great portion of the courtier press that now expresses horror at what is going on now went gleefully along for the ride as it became inevitable. Any members of that courtier press who relished the pursuit of Bill Clinton’s penis, or conducted the absurd campaign of untruth that was waged against Al Gore between 1999 and 2000 lost the right years ago credibly to denounce conservative extremism and Republican vandalism.
That means you, Roger Simon of Politico, who was so shocked the other day to discover that racism may have afflicted the process of government since the president’s election, but who once claimed to right to make candidates like Gore “jump through hoops” for the pure hella-fun of it.
That means you, Chris Matthews, who chased the presidential dick for two years, all the way through an impeachment process that was a constitutional absurdity, but who now discovers that the campaign of destruction never truly stopped.
That means you, Andrew Sullivan, with your current existential torment over How It Came To This….
…… This means all of you who went along for the ride on torture, and on Iraq, and who hid under the bed after 9/11. This is how the power came to rest with Ted Yoho, who is a fool and a know-nothing. This is how historical inevitability is created. This is how its momentum becomes unstoppable. This is how the wreckage piles up.
Bob Cesca: Why Isn’t the GOP Complaining About the Deficit? Because It’s Dropping — Fast.
As we careen headlong toward the debt ceiling deadline, with the House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner in full Three-Stooges-Trying-To-Fix-The-Plumbing mode, the issue area that’s been overshadowed by the grandstanding, political props and brinksmanship is government spending itself.
The budget deficit is really the 4,000 pound gorilla in the room and the Republicans refuse to discuss anything other than the fact that employer mandate for the dreaded Affordable Care Act begins a year after the individual mandate. Yes, we’re in the middle of a showdown over the debt because of Obamacare rather than, you know, spending and fiscal responsibility.
Why aren’t they talking about the deficit? That’s easy: they can’t say anything bad about it because the Obama administration’s record on the deficit is kind of stellar.
TPM: McCain: ‘Republicans Have To Understand We Have Lost This Battle’
With the government shutdown in its third week and the United States dangerously close to the debt limit, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) urged members of his party on Tuesday to stop digging.
“It’s very, very serious,” McCain said, as quoted by the New York Times. “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”
Barring an accident of political brinksmanship, the United States will not default on its debts and other obligations.
Economic conditions provide exactly zero reasons to worry that the U.S. cannot service its debts. The danger in the current crisis, therefore, is not catastrophic economic collapse.
Rather, the danger is that the House’s tea party Republicans, in their zeal to block President Barack Obama’s policies, especially on health care, have damaged investors’ long-term trust in the U.S. government. And by thwarting the principle of majority rule, they have demonstrated a disrupting power that they may wield into the next decade, causing further erosion in confidence.
As the federal government enters its sixteenth day of shutdown and stands just hours away from defaulting on the national debt, the largest newspaper in Texas has pulled its endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). The conservative lawmaker delivered a 21-hour speech on Sep. 24, urging Senate and House Republicans to vote against any government funding measure that includes appropriations for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and is viewed as at least partially responsible for the current impasse.
President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden link arms and sing “We Shall Overcome” during the dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011 Joining them, from left, are: Harry Johnson, Sr.; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; and Herman “Skip” Mason (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama says goodbye to former President George H. W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, prior to departure from Easterwood Field landing zone, in College Station, Texas, Oct. 16, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)
Neighbors in West Newton, Mass., react as the President headed their way after speaking at an event next door, Oct. 16, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
NYT Editorial: This is how voter intimidation worked in 1966: White teenagers in Americus, Ga., harassed black citizens in line to vote, and the police refused to intervene. Black plantation workers in Mississippi had to vote in plantation stores, overseen by their bosses. Black voters in Choctaw County, Ala., had to hand their ballots directly to white election officials for inspection.
This is how it works today: In an ostensible hunt for voter fraud, a Tea Party group, True the Vote, descends on a largely minority precinct and combs the registration records for the slightest misspelling or address error. It uses this information to challenge voters at the polls, and though almost every challenge is baseless, the arguments and delays frustrate those in line and reduce turnout.
The thing that’s different from the days of overt discrimination is the phony pretext of combating voter fraud. Voter identity fraud is all but nonexistent, but the assertion that it might exist is used as an excuse to reduce the political rights of minorities, the poor, students, older Americans and other groups that tend to vote Democratic.
Michael Tomasky: The release of the Romney tax returns is so amateurish that it almost offends me…..
Romney had pledged, in that ABC interview in Israel, that he’d never paid less than 13 percent to the feds. But to make that true for tax year 2011, the campaign admits that he artificially refused to take some deductions so that the rate would stay above the magic number.
But wait a second. Isn’t this the same Mitt Romney who said back in January: “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”
In fact, it is. So he just released returns that, when stacked against his earlier statement, disqualify him for the presidency by his own lights. Amazing…..
Demonstrators hold up signs as Mitt Romney’s motorcade passes enroute to a campaign fundraiser in Hillsborough, California, September 21
Washington Post editorial: Going with the best-defense-is-a-good-offense approach, the Romney campaign is accusing President Obama of being a — gasp! — redistributionist. In a rather pale replay of 2008’s Joe the Plumber spread-the-wealth debate, the GOP dredged up a 14-year-old video.
…. The campaign apparently thinks that voters will find “redistribution” a scary word. But does Mr. Romney really disagree with the belief that part of government’s role is, in Mr. Obama’s words, to help “make sure that everybody’s got a shot”? To tax is to redistribute. To govern is to redistribute….
…. It’s indisputable that Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have diverging views about the danger posed by increasing income inequality and the degree of redistribution in which government should engage. But the Romney campaign’s desperate, clownish portrayal of Mr. Obama does this important debate a serious disservice.
1:30 Vice President Joe Biden and wife Jill campaign at a rally in Merrimack, New Hampshire
6:40: President Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee (I need to check that time, CNN’s live streaming schedule has a habit of getting these things wrong)
7:30 ET: Michelle Obama will address the Congressional Black Caucus – live on C-SPAN
4:30 ET: Delivers remarks at Kissimmee Civic Center
SeaCoastOnline: Folks were as optimistic as the sunny day as they left Strawbery Banke Museum after President Barack Obama’s remarks to a crowd of an estimated 6,000 people.
“You really got the feeling that this was about you,” said Jude Flynn of Kittery, Maine. …. “He needs to finish the job he began on turning around the economy,” he said. “I also agree on his principles of allowing people to make choices on marriage and other things. I feel safe with him. The other side is scary to me.”
“We definitely need to go forward with the president’s plans,” said Pat Dunnell of Manchester, who was accompanied by her husband, Bud. “I don’t want Medicare vouchers,” she said.
….. “I’m also for women’s choice,” Corinne Baker of Hampton said. “If you’re a woman, you have to vote for him.”
Lilly Ramos-Spooner of Manchester was with two friends and her 9-year-old granddaughter, Sophia Victoria Spooner. “I am so motivated right now,” she said. “There were a lot of young people surrounding us and they all said they were signing up to vote after today.”
AP: With Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas back in the nation’s capital, Washington Capitals fans weren’t going to let him forget his skipped trip to the White House.
At Game 3 of the Bruins-Capitals playoff series Monday night, several spectators showed up with pictures of President Barack Obama and signs taunting Thomas. In January, he didn’t show up when the rest of the Bruins were invited to the Stanley Cup champions’ traditional visit to the president’s office.
Thomas, born in Michigan, said at the time he believes the federal government “has grown out of control.”
Morning everyone – I’ll be back in a while with Rise and Shine
Steve Benen: …. The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month, while the overall unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.2%. For the first time in a very long while, public-sector layoffs were less of a drag on the overall totals: the private sector added 121,000 jobs in March, while government lost only 1,000.
By any measure, today’s disappointing totals are a real setback. While it’s never wise to overreact to one report, March’s job totals were the weakest since October, and reverse a three-month trend in which over 200,000 jobs were being created each month….
While 120,000 new jobs would have been considered great in, say, late 2009, it’s not even close to good enough now …. Ideally, policymakers would see data like this and take steps to boost job creation, but given Republican efforts in Congress, that’s no longer an option.
WSJ: …. Job growth came from a variety of sectors. Manufacturing employment rose by 37,000, led by gains in the auto industry. Health care, financial services and professional and business services saw big gains.
….. In a promising sign, workers’ wage growth picked up. Average hourly earnings rose by five cents to $23.39. Wages were up 2.1% year over year – a faster pace than previous months. Also, a broader measure of unemployment, which includes job seekers as well as those in part-time jobs, clicked down to 14.5% from 14.9%.
The Fix (Washington Post): The tea party may have won Republicans the House of Representatives in 2010. In 2012, it’s looking like it could help Democrats retain the White House …. it has fallen out of favor with Americans. And Democrats are prepared to use it against Republicans in the 2012 election…..
“I’m Bill Pascrell, and this is why I’m running: To stop the tea party,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) says in a new ad. Pascrell faces a primary with fellow Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman after their districts were merged by redistricting. The tea party is also being used against in a major way against Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.)….
….. “It’s no longer viewed as a populist, grassroots organization, but a dangerous group with extremist views that don’t reflect the mainstream values of America’s middle class,” said Democratic media strategist John Lapp. “The Republican establishment allowed the inmates to run the asylum in 2010. And now they’re paying the price electorally.”
Washington Post: Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, whose wealth has become a central issue in the 2012 campaign, has taken advantage of an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the nature and extent of his holdings.
By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest.
In 48 accounts from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in Boston, Romney declined on his financial disclosure forms to identify the underlying assets, including his holdings in a company that moved U.S. jobs to China and a California firm once owned by Bain that filed for bankruptcy years ago and laid off more than 1,000 workers.
Jonathan Alter (Bloomberg): …. Romney has so lashed himself to Ryan, an Ayn Rand libertarian, that there’s talk of Ryan going on the ticket. The Ryan-Romney plan – from slashing federally funded scientific research to forcing seniors from nursing homes because of draconian Medicaid cuts – will be wildly unpopular if Obama and his team find the resonant language to exploit it.
…. on two other critical issues – women’s health and immigration – Romney clearly went further than was necessary to claim the nomination. These issues happen to be of great concern to the two constituencies that account for his lagging behind Obama in the polls. If Romney can’t break 40 percent with women and Latinos, it’s hard to see how he wins.
….. does his attendance at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994 and previous support of abortion rights really compel him to race to the other extreme and proclaim that he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood? Over the last 40 years, this organization provided the first birth control to millions of middle-class swing-vote suburban women. They haven’t forgotten.
…. What Romney thought was de rigueur in the primaries may bring rigor mortis in the general. He seems to have forgotten that everything he said to win the nomination is now etch-a- sketched in stone.
TPM: If the week of April 2, 2012, goes down in political history, it’ll be for the fact that Republicans suddenly rediscovered their reverence for the third branch of government. What brought about the change of heart? President Obama’s comments on Monday and Tuesday in which he opined that an adverse Supreme Court ruling on his health care law would represent an extraordinary act of judicial overreach.
On Tuesday, in an extraordinarily unusual step, three Republican appointees to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals went toe-to-toe with the president in the political sphere. On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell advised Obama to “back off.” The courts’ authority is to be respected, regardless of outcome, he said.
This is a rich new twist for the GOP, which has made decades of sport out of attacking an out-of-control judiciary for legislating from the bench. You literally only have to look back to this GOP presidential primary to find examples of Republicans questioning the courts’ legitimacy and even threatening to neuter them using powers reserved for the other two branches of government. Here’s a brief digest:
Workers listen as Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at Gregory Industries in Canton, Ohio, March 5
Latino Fox News (!!!): …. Latino voters favor President Barack Obama by six-to-one over any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, showed a Fox News Latino poll released Monday.
…… 73% of Latino voters approved of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66% and 58% respectively.
…. the poll shows Mitt Romney with 35% of Latino voter support, to Ron Paul’s 13%, Newt Gingrich’s 12%, and fRick Santorum’s 9%.
….. In head-to-head match-ups none of the GOP candidates would garner more than 14% of the Latino vote come November…
“This is what we’re seeing across the country,” said Gabriela Domenzain, Obama campaign spokesperson. “The more Latinos learn about the candidates, the more they reject them.”
TPM: On a day when the number of companies fleeing from Rush Limbaugh has snowballed, the conservative talk radio personality’s program is being immediately discontinued by a Hawaii-based station. Chris Leonard, the President and General Manager of New West Broadcasting, announced today that Limbaugh’s program will no longer be broadcast on KPUA AM 670 in Hilo, HI.
Energy.gov: Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that four new corporate partners – Best Buy, Johnson Controls, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Veolia – are joining the Energy Department’s National Clean Fleets Partnership, a broad public-private partnership that assists the nation’s largest fleet operators in reducing the amount of gasoline and diesel they use nationwide. The new partners announced today join with 14 other major national companies in committing to improve the fuel economy of the commercial fleets, integrate alternative technology vehicles like natural gas trucks and electric vehicles into their fleets, and reduce their overall fuel use. Collectively, the National Clean Fleets Partners operate more than a million commercial vehicles nationwide, accounting for more than 12 percent of all commercial vehicles on American roads.
The Hill: President Obama’s health law has eliminated lifetime coverage limits for 105 million Americans, the administration says in a new report released Monday.
The state-by-state report is part of the White House’s push to highlight popular provisions of the law ahead of its second anniversary later this month. Public opinion about the law remains split, but the administration hopes that its strategy will turn voters against Republicans’ plans to scrap the whole thing.
…. According to the report, 59 percent of workers covered by their employers and 89 percent of people with individual market plans had lifetime limits on their coverage in 2009. That translates to 70 million people in large employer plans, 25 million people in small employer plans and 10 million people with individually purchased health insurance.
CNN: Republican party leaders may be surprised by the results of a new poll of institutional investors: A majority of them want Washington to fix the deficit the Obama way, with both spending cuts and tax hikes.
“They tend to be as a population more fiscally conservative than the general public, but they’re not as fiscally conservative as the most conservative elements of the Republican party,” said Brent McGoldrick, who coordinated the poll. “You see the pragmatism of investors coming through here.”
In fact, on this issue at least, the 56% who favor a mixed approach are largely aligned with President Obama.
Steve Benen: A few months ago, Mitt Romney sat down with Fox News’ Bret Baier, who asked the former governor about his support for a health care mandate. Romney, visibly agitated, repeatedly denied ever advocating a national mandate policy.
When Baier reminded Romney, “Governor you did say on camera and other places that, at times, you thought it would be a model for the nation,” the Republican presidential hopeful got even angrier, snapping back, “You’re wrong, Bret.”
From White House press secretary Jay Carney: “In May, the United States looks forward to hosting the G-8 and NATO Summits. To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the President is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues.”
“The President will then welcome NATO allies and partners to his hometown of Chicago for the NATO Summit on May 20-21, which will be the premier opportunity this year for the President to continue his efforts to strengthen NATO in order to ensure that the Atlantic Alliance remains the most successful alliance in history, while charting the way forward in Afghanistan.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will host the 2012 International Women of Courage Awards Ceremony with special guest First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday, March 8. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and other U.S. and foreign dignitaries will also participate. Special guests this year include Ms. Leymah Gbowee and Ms. Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The event will be held at approximately 11:00 a.m. in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State.
Washington Post: President Obama holds a wide lead among Hispanic voters when matched against potential Republican challengers, even as widespread opposition to his administration’s stepped-up deportation policies act as a drag on his approval ratings among that group, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, revealed a general-election weakness for Republicans among an increasingly influential voting bloc — with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry each winning less than one-fourth of the Hispanic vote in hypothetical matchups against Obama.
Obama leads Romney by 68 percent to 23 percent and Perry by 69 percent to 23 percent among Hispanic voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points for the sample.
Bloomberg: Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits over the past month than at any time in the past three years, a sign the U.S. labor market is on the mend heading into the new year.
The four-week moving average for claims, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, dropped to 375,000 last week, the lowest level since June 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Applications rose for the first time in a month in the week ended Dec. 24, climbing by a more-than- forecast 15,000 to 381,000.
The jump in claims last week may say more about their volatility during this time of year than about the state of the job market …. Their recent decline has stoked speculation the world’s largest economy was on the cusp of showing bigger gains in employment.
AJC: Pushing a campaign to act without Congress, President Barack Obama will announce on Friday two more executive actions on the economy, both of them small steps intended to give a boost to businesses.
The moves cap a week in which Obama has sought to employ the power of his office as he struggles to make headway on his jobs bill on Capitol Hill.
Obama is directing government agencies to shorten the time it takes for federal research to turn into commercial products in the marketplace. The goal is to help startup companies and small businesses create jobs and expand their operations more quickly.
On the other front, Obama is calling for creation of a centralized online site, to be known as BusinessUSA, for companies to easily find information on federal services. The site is to be up and running within 90 days and will be designed with input from U.S. businesses.
Obama is announcing both steps in presidential memos to be released Friday morning, according to administration officials.
Washington Post: The U.S. economy grew at its fastest clip in a year during late summer as consumers and businesses shrugged off fears of a new recession, according to government data released Thursday that helped drive the stock market to its best day since August.
Investors were also cheered by overnight news that European leaders have reached an agreement on how to address their continent’s debt crisis, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index ended the day up 3.4 percent. European markets were up even more sharply, with the German Dax index up 5.3 percent.
The agreement in Europe still has many details to be filled in, and the 2.5 percent pace of U.S. economic expansion in the third quarter isn’t enough to bring unemployment down quickly, even if it is sustained. But on both sides of the Atlantic, the news on Thursday offered a sense of relief: Maybe the world isn’t falling apart after all.
National Journal: On the surface, it seems surprising that the U.S. economy nearly doubled its growth in the third quarter.
July brought tense debt-ceiling negotiations and threat of a government default. In August, a top credit ratings agency cut the United States’ top AAA rating. Concerns over European sovereign debt seeped into the U.S. and grew in September as the situation across the Atlantic appeared to be rapidly unraveling. Congress announced no major steps to fix the economy and the weak housing and labor markets treaded water.
But on Thursday, the Commerce Department announced that gross domestic product grew by 2.5 percent during that time, up from just 0.9 percent in the first half of the year.
While 2.5 percent GDP growth hardly signals boom times, it seems to fly in the face of those major headwinds. But economists say it reflects a gradual climb out of recession rather than a rapid shift in the country’s fortune.
…. The good news is that the third quarter shared many of the same uncertainties that are likely to shape the fourth: uncertainty over the budget and deficit, threat of a downgrade, and the European debt crisis. The economy, while hardly in fighting shape, pulled through the third quarter to eke out 2.5 percent GDP growth — which is not too shabby.
AP: He is the man with the mustache who takes a rebellious drag on a cigarette in the Herman Cain Internet ad gone viral …. Meet Mark Block, Cain’s unorthodox campaign manager …. a Republican strategist and tea party leader who’s left a trail of questionable campaign work behind him.
Block has been accused of voter suppression and was banned from running Wisconsin political campaigns for three years to settle accusations he coordinated a judge’s re-election campaign with a special interest group.
Records show Block has faced foreclosure on his home, a tax warrant by the Internal Revenue Service and a lawsuit for an unpaid bill. He also acknowledges he was arrested twice for drunken driving…..
Eugene Robinson: The hard-right conservatives who dominate the Republican Party claim to despise the redistribution of wealth, but secretly they love it – as long as the process involves depriving the poor and middle class to benefit the rich, not the other way around.
That is precisely what has been happening, as a jaw-dropping new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office demonstrates. Three decades of trickle-down economic theory, see-no-evil deregulation and tax-cutting fervor have led to massive redistribution. Another word for what’s been happening might be theft.
ThinkProgress: House Republicans took the government to the brink of shutdown last spring by demanding across-the-board budget cuts to many vital programs. Instead of focusing on job creation, as Americans wanted them to, the GOP turned its attention to slashing funds for programs that funded assistance for women and children, local law enforcement, the social safety net, environmental protections, and many other programs they deemed as either too expensive or unnecessary. Worse, when challenged on why they hadn’t made the effort to tackle high unemployment, Republicans insisted that their slash-and-burn budget cuts were meant to create jobs.
….. According to a new report from the Center for American Progress’ Scott Lilly, those cuts didn’t result in the job creating boon Republicans insisted would follow. Instead, it has done just the opposite, as those cuts will result in the destruction of roughly 370,000 jobs……
First lady Michelle Obama visited three Florida cities on Thursday for campaign fundraisers…. “This has been a great day,” the first lady told supporters in Ft. Lauderdale. “This is my third city in one day. And I go home tonight and Barack and I get up and go to parent-teacher conference tomorrow morning.”
“Just so you know,” she said. “Just handling our business.”
The Hill: The government’s bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might end up costing taxpayers billions less than originally estimated, the mortgage giants’ regulator said Thursday.
In a new report, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said the actual performance of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) had been “substantially better” than originally projected, lowering the overall bill for the bailout, a longtime sore spot with GOP lawmakers.
…. So far, Fannie and Freddie are beating bailout expectations. In the first year of projections, the GSEs actually tapped the Treasury Department for $19 billion to $73 billion less than anticipated, depending on what scenario was applied.