Feeling his oats in Iowa today after a strong debate performance, President Barack Obama mocked conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for touting “binders full of women” and for refusing to explain how he would pay for his $5 trillion tax cut. He contrasted the New Deal, Fair Deal, and Square Deal with what he calls Romney’s “Sketchy Deal.”
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … OBAMA TAKES DEBATE 2: SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? and CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC: PASS THE BANANAS.
** QUICK HITS. Former Senator George McGovern, age 90, is reportedly unresponsive and near death at South Dakota hospice center. The 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, who anti-Vietnam War crusade of a campaign lost to Richard Nixon in a huge landslide but sparked a generation of Democrats, may be the most successful loser in political history. I met the World War II hero-turned-man of peace in Iowa in 1984, when it was my job to defeat him. He is quite a striking man. More to follow. Sadly. … The new Reuters poll shows President Barack Obama beating conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in last night’s debate by a wide margin, 48-33. That sounds about right. Well, a little on the low side, actually, but it’s a polarized country. … Nothing new to report on the “Small Business” Action Committee political laundry receiving another $11 million in contributions, this time from a shadowy outfit in Arizona, to use against California’s Prop 30 revenue initiative and for the Prop 32 anti-public employee union measure. A newly hired spokesperson for the SBAC, which is used as a laundry to avoid state law requiring that major funders be revealed on ads (and which has suddenly raised nearly $35 million in the past couple months after raising only $60,000 in the first half of the year), says she has no idea why the money came in. More to follow.
** NEW SURVEY: UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPING AGAIN. A new Gallup Poll survey has more good news on unemployment.
The US unemployment rate, which in September dropped to 7.8%, best since Obama took over as president in the midst of the great global recession, seems to be dropping again in October.
The Gallup Poll survey, which had the rate going below 8% for the first time in nearly four years just before the official numbers came out, now has the unemployment rate down to 7.3% in mid-October.
That’s the lowest it’s been since Gallup started tracking unemployment nearly three years ago.
So much for the far right theme that the numbers were cooked when the official rate dropped below 8%. Of course, those were the same folks who claimed there was no recession in 2008. And Gallup is a poll that, in my observation, consistently has an extra edge for a Republican candidate.
U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 7.3% in mid-October, down considerably from 7.9% at the end of September and at a new low since Gallup began collecting employment data in January 2010. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.7%, also down from September. October’s adjusted mid-month measure is also more than a percentage point lower than October 2011.
The decline in unemployment but uptick in the number of Americans working part time but looking for full-time work is likely the result of seasonal hiring, which picks up in the fall for Halloween and continues through the end of the holiday season. Still, seasonally adjusted employment, which accounts for these types of periodic fluctuations, has declined modestly since the end of September. This is a promising sign that employers are adding jobs that will last into the new year.
Gallup’s mid-month unemployment numbers are a good early predictor of the monthly numbers released by the BLS. The decline in Gallup’s unadjusted and adjusted employment rate suggests that the BLS may report another decline when it releases the October data on Nov. 2.
President Barack Obama won the second presidential debate last night at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … OBAMA WINS DEBATE 2, SO WHAT’S NEXT? and CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC: PASS THE BANANAS.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Iowa, and Ohio.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefing in the Oval Office early this monring and then left for Joint Base Andrews, where he boarded Air Force One and flew to Mount Vernon, Iowa.
He then delivered remarks at a campaign event at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
At 10:55 AM Pacific, Obama departs Mt. Vernon, Iowa on Air Force One en route Athens, Ohio.
At 1:15 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Athens, Ohio.
At 3 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
At 4:35 PM Pacific, Obama departs Athens, Ohio on Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
At 5:45 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 6 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
Conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is campaigning in swing state Virginia, where the race may be even, today.
Yesterday here on NWN I asked whether the Ambien-fed Barack Obama of Denver would show up on Long Island or the amphetamine-fueled Joe Biden of last week? Or something in between?
Definitely something in between, though far speedier, as it were, than the Denver version.
It was hard for me to believe that Obama would again be any less than he was in 2008, when he was certainly good enough for John McCain and Hillary Clinton. And that that would make him more than good enough for Mitt Romney.
That proved to be the case, as Obama won the debate with an impressive performance. Snap polls show it, and my gut made it clear from the get-go.
Romney wasn’t bad, but he was not as good as in the first debate.
Actually, Romney seemed to have let his clippings get to his head, imagining that he has somehow morphed into a fellow wearing a cape with an “S” on his chest.
He let Obama get to him early on with his depiction of Romney as a latter day sort of financialized robber baron. He endlessly asserted his positioning as a champion of job creation and saving the middle class without discussing policies that would do that. Aside from lowering the capital gains tax, a notable non sequitur.
His most detailed domestic policy was his championing of the old fossil fuel economy, especially coal.
And he thoroughly muffed his attack on Obama on the Benghazi disaster, again!
For his part, Obama was especially impressive on Benghazi, though Romney made it relatively easy, saying that while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for diplomatic security, it is his responsibility as he appoints the ambassadors and sends them out around the world, and feels deeply the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The perpetrators will be hunted and found, he said, as others have been in his administration.
Obama also chose Romney’s infamous attack on 47% of Americans as lazy layabouts as part of his closing sequence. He did it very well.
Romney also came off a bit oddly at times, challenging moderator Candy Crowley rather petulantly and aggressively using his bulk on one or two occasions to begin to challenge Obama.
And then there was his claim, as a belated show of bona fides for female voters despite his opposition to the equal pay act, that, realizing that he was appointing almost all men as governor, he instructed his staff to give him “binders full of women” whom he might appoint.
I didn’t know women came in binders. Nor that appointing women was such an obvious afterthought for him and his team that he had to order them up in such a way.
The massive US-led multinational naval exercise in the the Persian/Arabian Gulf of a few weeks ago, intended to practice keeping the Strait of Hormuz choke point clear of obstruction, didn’t go as well as hoped. Less than half the practice mines laid were detected and neutralized.
Meanwhile, has been relatively quiet, allowing us the luxury of indulging our political spats. But here’s an essentially unreported fact to give one serious pause: In last month’s US Navy-led multinational exercise in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, less than half the practice mines laid to mimic a potential Iranian bid to close shipping lanes were actually detected.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles and Northern California.
At 12:30 PM, Brown appears the funeral service for former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally in Culver City.
Brown declared today to be Mervyn Dymally Day in California:
Today we celebrate the life of a great Californian leader, Mervyn Dymally. His career as educator, State Assemblyman, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor and Member of Congress spanned the terms of six California governors, including my father and Ronald Reagan.
For more than four decades of public service, Mervyn Dymally worked to improve the lives of Californians, particularly those burdened by racial, gender or ethnic discrimination. He championed the cause of civil rights, and broke new ground as our state’s first African-American state senator and as one of the first African-Americans to be elected to statewide office since the Reconstruction era. He was an outstanding mentor, organizer and leader in his community. I had the privilege of working with him during my first term as Governor.
Mervyn Dymally came from humble origins and achieved great things, opening doors of opportunity not just for himself, but for Californians of every background. For this reason, it is fitting and proper that we dedicate this day to honoring his memory and the generous life of service that he exemplifies.
At noon yesterday at UCLA, Brown appeared at a rally for the Prop 30 revenue initiative.
He spoke in Bruin Plaza on the UCLA campus, where he was joined by student and educational leaders, addressing a crowd of some 300 students.
Brown got some good news late Monday when heiress Molly Munger, under heavy pressure after launching a $5 million TV ad blitz against Prop 30 as an ostensible push for her own tax measure, Prop 38, announced that she is pulling the ads as of today.
But now Brown has some bad news, and fresh evidence of the incipient banana republic-ization of California politics.
A very shadowy PAC based in Phoenix, Arizona called Americans for Responsible Leadership has just sent $11 million to the Small Business Action Committee laundry to use for the Prop 32 anti-public employee union initiative and against the Prop 30 revenue initiative.
The “Small Business” Action Committee, which consists of career anti-tax/small government operative Joel Fox, had already taken in well over $20 million from a few mega-rich individuals, mostly Charlie Munger, Jr., son of Warren Buffett’s business partner.
Munger Jr., heretofore a political reformer with his backing for redistricting reform and open primaries, thus avoids having himself identified on advertising by the No on 30 committee as a principal funder.
Instead the faux small business committee is identified on the ads.
More to follow.
** GEOPOLITICS: OBAMA FACES BIG CHALLENGES DESPITE DEBATE WINNER ROMNEY’S LATEST POLICY WHIFF. … From my October 9th essay.
** JERRY BROWN GETS AN OCTOBER SURPRISE. … From my October 8th feature.
** RECALLING TOTAL RECALL: SCHWARZENEGGER’S COMEBACK PROCEEDS WITH A BIG (NATURALLY) BOOK. … From my October 5th essay.
** BOND AT 50: DR. NO IS A TIME CAPSULE FROM THE EARLY MAD MEN ERA. … From my October 4th essay.
** OBAMA PASSES THROUGH THE MINEFIELD OF U.N. WEEK (BUT SETS UP A POTENTIAL EXPLOSION NEXT YEAR). … From my September 28th essay.
** IS POST-PARTISANSHIP PASSE? SCHWARZENEGGER AND COMPANY (AND BILL CLINTON) SAY NO. … From my September 26th column.
** DETHRONED: MAD MEN‘S DOWN SEASON OPENED THE DOOR FOR A SUPERLATIVE HOMELAND. … From my September 24th column.
** JERRY BROWN: GEARING UP A CAMPAIGN AT LAST? … From my September 22nd feature.
** HOW ROMNEY SHOULD HAVE ATTACKED OBAMA: ANATOMY OF A GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS. … From my September 19th essay.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in major military operations in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $92 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $58 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $22 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum. You can send me a private tip by clicking on the “Contact” button in the upper right.