Republican Mitt Romney has had a tough week, but the next 24 hours will belong to President Barack Obama. From the Associated Press:
U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said in its report Friday.
The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter. That’s one-third of the 226,000 a month created in the first quarter. Through the first six months of the year, job creation is also trailing last year’s pace.
“It’s a disappointing report,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio. He said the job gains are consistent with sluggish economic growth.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be at the White House on Friday when President Barack Obama signs that bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes transportation funding and prevents school loans from doubling on more than 7 million college students.
Reed will be there as chairman of the transportation committee for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Infrastructure projects represent some of the most vital and responsible uses of our federal resources toward restoring the long-term economic health of our nation and creating well-paying jobs,” Reed said.
A photograph of Reed standing next to Obama won’t be anything unique. The question is, what Republican(s) will venture into the frame with the president?
Before the unemployment numbers hit, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign this morning squeezed out an attack on Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s handling of the health-care-as-tax-or-mandate question. These were the president’s remarks to an NBC affiliate in Cincinnati, to be aired today:
“And the fact that a whole bunch of Republicans in Washington suddenly said, this is a tax — for six years [Romney] said it wasn’t, and now he has suddenly reversed himself. So the question becomes, are you doing that because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years simply because you’re getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or some critics in Washington?
“One of the things that you learn as President is that what you say matters and your principles matter. And sometimes, you’ve got to fight for things that you believe in and you can’t just switch on a dime.”
The New York Times reports that the icy relationship between Mitt Romney and Wall Street Journal owner Rupert Murdoch has its roots in a meeting with the newspaper’s editorial staff during the 2008 GOP primary:
Romney and Journal staff members who attended said that despite being deeply prepared and animated — particularly on his love for data crunching — Mr. Romney failed to connect with either Mr. Murdoch or The Journal’s editorial page editor, Paul A. Gigot. Instead of articulating a clear and consistent conservative philosophy, he dwelled on organizational charts and executive management, areas of expertise that made him a multimillionaire as the head of his private equity firm, Bain Capital.
At one point, Mr. Romney declared that “I would probably bring in McKinsey,” the management consulting firm, to help him set up his presidential cabinet, a comment that seemed to startle the editors and left Mr. Murdoch visibly taken aback.
The Journal’s write-up of that meeting would later glibly refer to Mr. Romney as “Consultant in Chief.”
Top members of the state House – Speaker David Ralston, Speaker pro tem Jan Jones, and Majority Leader Larry O’Neal embark on a four-day state fly-around beginning Sunday. They’ll be offering a sneak preview of the 2013 legislative session.
One thing to ask of House GOP leaders is whether they have any plans to address the long drivers license lines that have blossomed because of a new requirement that all renewal applicants show up with a birth certificate or better.
As disasters are often used as a measure of federal efficiency, so does DMV traffic become a measure of state competency. From Channel 2 Action News:
It won’t happen this year, but Georgia could be quickly pushed into some form of voting by Internet, at least when it comes to overseas military ballots. From the Associated Press:
A federal judge on Thursday ordered Georgia’s secretary of state to extend the deadline to accept absentee ballots from military service members, their families and citizens living overseas in the event of a primary runoff election on Aug. 21.
U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones says “it is beyond dispute” that the state will violate election rules under the current system.
The Justice Department sued Georgia last month over the issue, and the case was heard Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Federal prosecutors argued that Georgia’s procedures are “inadequate to ensure that its eligible military and overseas voters can participate fully” in the runoff, should one be necessary.
Under Georgia’s election calendar, absentee ballots for the runoff election won’t be sent out until after the July 7 deadline for complying with the federal law, or 45 days in advance of the election.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp said through a spokesman Thursday that his office will comply fully with the order.
“While we suggest it would have been more responsible for the (Justice Department) to have voiced their issues with Georgia’s system in any of the past three election cycles we have used this calendar, rather than in a lawsuit weeks before our primary election, our office will continue to be on the forefront of military and overseas citizen voting access,” the statement read.
The political import: Winners of congressional runoffs in the 12th and 9th Districts won’t be formally declared until on or after Aug. 31. That may not have any impact in the 9th District – specifically designed to produce a Republican candidate. But if the runoff is close, it could delay the declaration of a GOP nominee in the 12th District contest. And that would be good for U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.
Moreover, Kemp said he would work with Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly to fix the problem. While extending the length of runoff campaigns – and thus the cost — at this point seems unlikely, one possibility could be the quick creation of a federally approved Internet voting system.
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at a series of claims about the health care overhaul, recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, that are now floating around on the Internet.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider