THE MORNING LINE -- September 15, 2011 at 8:49 AM ET
Speaker Boehner to Present GOP's Economic Fixes
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is set to present the House GOP's "Plan for America's Job Creators." File photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call.
One week after President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, plans to present his policy prescriptions for job growth and the economy, albeit in a far less august setting.
At the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Rep. Boehner will once again attempt to show a willingness to work with President Obama on some pieces of his jobs bill, but he will primarily focus on the House GOP's "Plan for America's Job Creators."
According to one of his aides, Speaker Boehner's plan "is focused on streamlining and reforming a burdensome tax code, stopping harmful regulations, and cutting Washington spending -- all which have combined to create a toxic environment for job creation that has rattled confidence and prevented job creators from hiring new workers."
After members went home in August and received fresh polling numbers showing them just how politically toxic the debt ceiling debate was, Rep. Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., have sought to strike a different tone.
But you shouldn't mistake their ability to find attractive pieces of the president's bill for a breakout of bipartisanship in Washington, D.C.
In addition to highlighting the need to rid businesses of burdensome regulations, Speaker Boehner also intends to offer his preferred deficit reduction approach to the so-called "super committee" tasked with finding a way to erase an additional $1.5-$2 trillion from the deficit.
"He will say the panel should advance fundamental tax reform to support private investment and job creation, and address the structural problems in our entitlement programs that have put our country in danger of more job-destroying downgrades," Boehner's aide said. "He will note that tax reform should include closing loopholes, but tax increases, which will destroy jobs, are not a viable option for the Joint Select Committee."
Of course, Republicans are not the only blockade to the president's desire to have his bill passed by Congress. The New York Times takes a look at some Democratic skittishness on his jobs bill.
Be sure to note Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey's desire to break up the president's bill into smaller pieces. That's coming from a purple state Democrat on next year's ballot.
President Obama may continue to say "pass this bill" around the country, but the prospects of his bill passing Congress in its entirety are becoming slim.
TIED IN VIRGINIA
Virginia is the very symbol of the Obama electoral phenomenon in 2008. The Obama campaign seized on the Democratic trending demographics, brought new and young voters into the fold and successfully flipped it from red to blue for the first time since 1964. Mr. Obama beat Sen. John McCain by 6 percent in the commonwealth, nearly matching their national vote share.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll of Virginia voters out Thursday, President Obama has a 40 percent approval rating, and a majority of voters (51 percent to 41 percent) do not believe he deserves a second term.
Only 29 percent of independent voters in Virginia approve of the president's job performance.
If his approval among independent voters in Virginia doesn't increase over the next year, it's hard to see a repeat performance on the horizon.
In head-to-head, general election match-ups, however, President Obama is continuing to hold his own against Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The president gets 44 percent of the vote to Perry's 42 percent. The statistically insignificant lead flips if Romney is the candidate. The former Massachusetts governor is at 44 percent, compared to Obama's 42 percent.
These numbers give some hope to the Obama campaign; when a clear contrast is presented between the president and a Republican nominee they hope to define as outside the mainstream, things will begin to look much better for the president.
Inside the Republican nomination battle, Virginia Republicans are showing what Republicans across the country are showing in national polls. It's a two-man race between Romney and Perry, and Perry is out in front.
In Virginia, Perry bests Romney, 25 percent to 19 percent, with all the other candidates in single digits.
In a new national poll out Thursday from Bloomberg News, Perry is the preferred candidate for 26 percent of Republicans, compared to Romney's 22 percent. Again, all the other candidates are in single digits.
BACHMANN UNDER FIRE
By most accounts, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., delivered a strong performance at Monday's GOP presidential debate in Tampa, Fla., with the highlight of the night being her criticism of Perry's executive order requiring girls entering the sixth grade to receive a vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer.
"To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong," Bachmann charged.
But instead of using the impressive showing to draw back the support she's lost since Perry entered the race, Bachmann has now found herself on the defensive for comments she made after the debate.
"There's a woman who came up crying to me tonight after the debate," Bachmann said in an interview with Fox News. "She said her daughter was given that vaccine. She told me her daughter suffered mental retardation as a result of that vaccine."
The congresswoman repeated the story Tuesday in an appearance on NBC.
The trouble for Bachmann is that there's no evidence to suggest the vaccine has such an effect. The Des Moines Register's Jason Noble reported Wednesday on the medical community's rejection of Bachmann's HPV vaccine claims.
"Scientists and doctors who have studied the HPV vaccine have found that while it may cause severe allergic reactions in a small number of recipients, there is no evidence of a connection to the onset of mental retardation," Noble writes.
Bachmann ultimately walked back her statement in an interview on Sean Hannity's radio show later Tuesday. "I am not a doctor, I'm not a scientist, I'm not a physician," she said. "All I was doing was reporting what this woman told me last night at the debate."
It's not the first time Bachmann has misspoke (confusing the location of Revolutionary War battles, John Wayne's birthplace or Elvis Presley's birthday), but this time around she was spreading a scientific falsehood.
Beyond the pushback from the medical community, the misstatement has also made Bachmann the target of criticism from the individual she had attacked in the first place: Perry.
"I think that was a statement that had no truth in it, no basis in fact," Perry said during a stop in Richmond, Va., on Wednesday.
By over-playing her hand, it seems Bachmann has drawn attention away from her challenge to Perry's credentials as a small government social conservative, and back on her propensity to make verbal gaffes, a potentially damaging turn of events in her push to pick up traction in the GOP race.
ON THE TRAIL
All events listed in Eastern Time.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman tours Rokon Motorcylces in Rochester, N.H., at 10 a.m., holds a meet and greet in Exeter, N.H., at 2 p.m. and speaks in Sandown, N.H., at 7 p.m.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann attends a breakfast chat in San Rafael, Calif., at 12:15 p.m.
President Obama awards a Medal of Honor at the White House at 2:45 p.m. and attends a pair of Democratic National Committee fundraisers in Washington, D.C., at 7 p.m. and 8:40 p.m.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at Greene County GOP fundraiser in Jefferson, Iowa at 7:30 p.m.
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning.