President Barack Obama speaks at the National League of Cities annual Congressional City Conference in Washington. Targeting stagnant wages in an otherwise improving economy, the president is calling on employers, educational institutions and local governments to ramp up training and hiring of high-technology in an effort to drive up higher-income employment
President Barack Obama hugs National League of Cities President, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker
This kick-ass moment. The audience is tired of the disrespect. This doesn’t only concern the Politico reporter, but to everyday supporters who call him “Obama.” It’s like nails on a chalkboard. He is the first two term elected African-American President. He is not “Obama” to you. He’s President Barack Obama or President Obama. If you want to shorten, then it should be POTUS or PBO. He’s more than earned that title
Kansas City Star: The improving economy is swinging the pendulum in President Barack Obama’s favor in the 14 states where the presidential election will likely be decided …. What’s made the difference is that unemployment has dropped more sharply in several swing states than in the nation as a whole. A resurgence in manufacturing is helping the economy – and Obama’s chances – in the industrial Midwestern states of Ohio and Michigan.
…. After an agonizingly slow recovery, several swing-state economies are finally accelerating:
– The job market is improving in Michigan and Ohio. In Michigan, unemployment fell to 8.5 percent in March from 10.5 percent in March 2011. And in Ohio, it dropped to 7.5 percent from 8.8 percent over the same period….
Many blue-collar workers in Ohio and Michigan credit the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler for saving tens of thousands of auto industry jobs … “There’s a feeling the administration went out of its way to protect jobs that are very important,” says Paul Allen Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University…
– Unemployment is down over the past year in the 10 other states the Associated Press identifies as swing states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin…..
USA Today: President Obama has opened the first significant lead of the 2012 campaign in the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, boosted by a huge shift of women to his side.
In the fifth Swing States survey taken since last fall, Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters just a month after the president had trailed him by two percentage points.
The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney’s support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group. Romney’s main advantage is among men 50 and older, swamping Obama 56%-38%.
…. In the poll, Romney leads among all men by a single point, but the president leads among women by 18.
David Javerbaum (NYT): A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney. The recent remark by Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom that upon clinching the Republican nomination Mr. Romney could change his political views “like an Etch A Sketch” has already become notorious. The comment seemed all too apt, an apparent admission by a campaign insider of two widely held suspicions about Mitt Romney: that he is a) utterly devoid of any ideological convictions and b) filled with aluminum powder.
…. according to the latest theories, the “Mitt Romney” who seems poised to be the Republican nominee is but one of countless Mitt Romneys, each occupying his own cosmos, each supporting a different platform, each being compared to a different beloved children’s toy but all of them equally real, all of them equally valid and all of them running for president at the same time, in their own alternative Romnealities, somewhere in the vast Romniverse.
Rupert Cornwell (UK Independent): Obamacare is in the hands of the unelected – The Supreme Court has the power to trump Congress and consign to history the US’s boldest attempt at universal healthcare.
….. If the so-called “individual mandate” is rejected, then the whole financial edifice of Obamacare comes crashing down. With the stroke of a judicial pen, unelected judges would have voided the most important piece of health legislation since the Medicare and Medicaid Acts in 1965, and destroyed the boldest effort yet to give America what is taken for granted in every other industrial country: universal health coverage.
…. The biggest casualty of all, however, could be the reputation of the Supreme Court itself … it would be shown once and for all as just another player, albeit a mightily powerful one, in the partisan warfare that has brought the American political system almost to the point of dysfunction. Maybe, that will induce one conservative justice at least to step back from the brink on Obamacare. But don’t bet on it.
Tuesday: PBO will deliver remarks at the AP Luncheon during the ASNE Convention.
Wednesday: PBO will host an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House. Christian leaders from across the country will join the President at this breakfast for a time of prayer, reflection, and celebration of Easter. Also on Wednesday, the President will sign the STOCK Act, which makes clear that Members of Congress are subject to the same insider trading laws that apply to everyone else. This was legislation the President called on Congress to pass in his 2012 State of the Union Address.
Thursday: PBO will sign the JOBS Act, which includes key initiatives the President proposed last fall to help small businesses and startups grow and create jobs.
Friday: PBO will deliver remarks at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy. Later, the President and the First Lady will mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House with friends and staff.
Greg Sargent: Despite birth control controversy, Obama suffers no erosion among Catholics
Since the birth control controversy broke, it has been an article of faith among even some neutral commentators that the battle would cause Obama to lose crucial support among Catholic swing voters.
But Gallup has performed a new analysis of its tracking data that should complicate this assertion: It finds that Obama has suffered no meaningful downturn in recent days among that consistuency, even among church-going Catholics.
Today: The President will meet with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Tomorrow: The President will travel to Philadelphia
Wednesday: The President will deliver remarks at the National Women’s Law Center’s Annual Awards dinner.
Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.
Friday: The President and the First Lady will host a breakfast with veterans at the White House.
After, the President will visit Arlington National Cemetery to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony and deliver remarks; the First Lady will also attend.
Later, the President and the First Lady will travel to San Diego, California for the Carrier Classic and Honolulu, Hawaii for the start of the APEC Summit. The President and the First Lady will spend the weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii at the APEC Summit.
ABC: …. Over the past six months, the Obama campaign’s state-level operations have blossomed, re-commissioning offices and volunteer networks kept warm by Organizing for America since 2008 while adding new outreach centers to help raise the president’s profile on the ground.
Obama now has campaign offices in all 50 states, opening on average three new field offices each week, said campaign manager Jim Messina. State volunteers threw open the doors to dozens more over the weekend, from Michigan to New Hampshire, in a coordinated push exactly one year to Election Day.
… Filling the new offices around the country is an army of paid staff and strategists, including social media experts to corral what have become an army of volunteers – more than 1 million nationwide.
Obama for America nearly doubled the size of its staff on payroll over the summer, growing from 168 employees in July to 327 as of Sept. 30, according to the campaign’s third quarter financial report.
But perhaps more important than boots on the ground will be campaign cash Obama will use to put ads on the air. The president has raised more than $88 million for his re-election through September, slightly ahead of the record-setting pace he set four years ago and quadruple the cash-on-hand of Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney.
On Sunday, Obama’s surrogates fanned out across the states to keep that fundraising apace, holding events in eight major cities to gather cash on the one-year milestone before the election.
I see Romney’s campaign released a poster today (copied from a 1970’s campaign by Margaret friggin’ Thatcher) attacking the President’s jobs record …. oh Mitt, do you really want to go there?
New York Post (February 2011): ….Mitt Romney has been saying he is the man to get Americans back to work … However, the former private equity firm chief’s fortune – which has funded his political ambitions – was made on the backs of companies that ultimately collapsed, putting thousands of ordinary Americans out on the street.
That truth, if it becomes widely known, could become costly to Romney who told CNN’s Piers Morgan that “People in America want to know who can get 15 million people back to work,” implying he was that person.
Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, bought companies and often increased short-term earnings so those businesses could then borrow enormous amounts of money. That borrowed money was used to pay Bain dividends. Then those businesses needed to maintain that high level of earnings to pay their debts.
….Bain and Goldman Sachs, for example, put $85 million down in a $415 million 1994 leveraged buyout of Baxter International’s medical testing division (renamed Dade Behring), which sold machines and reagents to labs … In August 2002, Dade filed for bankruptcy.
This was not an isolated case.
* Bain in 1988 put $5 million down to buy Stage Stores, and in the mid-’90s took it public, collecting $100 million from stock offerings. Stage filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
* Bain in 1992 bought American Pad & Paper (AMPAD), investing $5 million, and collected $100 million from dividends. The business filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
* Bain in 1993 invested $60 million when buying GS Industries, and received $65 million from dividends. GS filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
* Bain in 1997 invested $46 million when buying Details, and made $93 million from stock offerings. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2003.
Romney’s Bain invested 22 percent of the money it raised from 1987-95 in these five businesses, making a $578 million profit.
While I have not investigated all of Romney’s Bain investments and there may be cases where he made money and improved businesses, there’s little question he made a fortune from businesses he helped destroy.
Marketwatch: …. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last.
The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane.
The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%.
….In Romney’s first year in charge, Massachusetts ranked dead last in America in jobs growth. What makes this worse for Romney is that he actually ran on a jobs platform …. he promised the voters of Massachusetts that as governor he’d use his business savvy and connections to bring new jobs to the state.
Net result: 50th out of 50 after one year, 47th after four.
USA Today: The unemployment rate dropped in 34 states in March from February, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s the largest number of states to record a decline since June. The rate rose in seven states and was unchanged in nine and Washington, D.C.
Employers hired more workers in 38 states. A government survey of employer payrolls found only 12 states plus Washington, D.C. lost jobs last month, the fewest since October.
….Nationally, the unemployment rate fell in March to a two-year low of 8.8%, and private employers added more than 200,000 jobs for the second consecutive month.
New Mexico reported the biggest monthly drop in unemployment among all states, falling from 8.7% in February to 8.1% in March. Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio posted the next biggest monthly declines.
Texas added 37,200 net jobs in March, the most of any state. It was followed by Missouri and Florida, both of which reported strong gains. California lost 11,600 net jobs – the most of any state. Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland and Maine all had large job losses, too.