New Jobs Numbers Could Help Obama Rebound From First Debate

BY Terence Burlij and Katelyn Polantz  October 5, 2012 at 9:12 AM EDT

President Obama takes to the stage to deliver remarks at a campaign event at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver, Colorado Thursday. Photo by: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Morning Line

Friday’s Labor Department report showing the unemployment rate dipped to 7.8 percent with 114,000 jobs being created in September is unlikely to cause a major shift in the dynamics of the presidential campaign with impressions of the direction of the economy fairly well-formed at this stage of the race.

Still, the fact that the jobless rate has fallen below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years will no doubt give the president’s prospects a jolt following Wednesday night’s lackluster debate performance. Recent polls have shown the right direction/wrong track number moving in the president’s favor (40 percent to 53 percent in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey) and crossing the sub-eight barrier could help continue that trend for the Democratic incumbent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics release also noted that more jobs were added in July and August that previously reported.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from +141,000 to +181,000, and the change for August was revised from +96,000 to +142,000.

Both candidates will certainly seize on the numbers to make their respective cases to voters Friday. The president, who has events scheduled in battleground Virginia and Ohio, will almost certainly tout the lower unemployment rate and the fact that businesses have added positions for 31 consecutive months. He’ll likely argue that the economy is moving in the right direction, just not fast enough.

Romney, meanwhile, will likely take note of the fact that the unemployment rate is still hovering near 8 percent to drive home his point that the president’s policies have not resulted in a vibrant enough recovery. The GOP nominee will campaign in Virginia and Florida on Friday.

There’s another figure that’s likely to be getting some attention Friday, and that’s the $150 million the Obama campaign reportedly raised in September. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The sum would represent the largest monthly haul of the 2012 campaign on either side, and is likely to ensure the president’s campaign has the resources it needs for the final 32-day stretch of the election.

Team Romney has yet to release its fundraising total for September, but the campaign is making clear how it’s spending whatever cash has been brought in, releasing a new television ad Friday slamming the president’s handling of the debt.

The 30-second spot opens with the narrator saying, “President Obama says he’s creating jobs, but he’s really creating debt,” before accusing the president of overseeing the four largest deficits in history and running up as much debt as all the previous presidents combined.

The ad closes with the line: “He’s not just wasting money. He’s borrowing it, and then wasting it.”

Watch the full ad here or below:

As part of the NewsHour’s post-debate analysis Jeffrey Brown hosted a discussion Thursday night between Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jared Bernstein about the candidates’ claims on taxes and the deficit.

Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former adviser to Vice President Biden, took issue with Romney’s math when it comes to paying for his across the board 20 percent tax cut, which he said would cost $5 trillion over 10 years.

What the governor says he will do is fill that $5 trillion hole by getting rid of a bunch of deductions and loopholes.

And so he will offset the revenue loss with closing of deductions and loopholes. And what — the president made two points last night, and I thought they were good points.

First, he said there’s actually not enough deductions and loopholes, particularly for high-income people, to offset the revenue loss. So that’s when they said the math doesn’t work. There’s just not enough dollars in those deduction loophole closures to offset the revenues.

And the second one is, the governor’s not said which deductions and loopholes he would close. And that’s pretty egregious because we’re really talking about $5 trillion over 10 years.

Holtz-Eakin, who was John McCain’s chief economic adviser, said those numbers assumed all the Bush tax cuts were to expire, something not even the president has called for.

Well, to get to $5 trillion, the first thing you have to do is let all of the 2001-2003 tax laws sunset, go away. That’s a $2.7 trillion tax increase, most of which the president wouldn’t support.

Then you have to cut by $5 trillion. So compared to where we are now, it’s really a much smaller reduction in tax revenue, which makes it much easier to fill the revenue hole. And we now have five studies, one from Martin Feldstein at Harvard, one from Harvey Rosen at Princeton, one from the Tax Foundation, one from the American Enterprise Institute.

We have studies that show there are plans that meet the governor’s goal, cut rates 20 percent across the board, don’t lose revenue, and make sure the rich pay their fair share of taxes. So it can be done.

Watch the segment here or below:

UNDECIDEDLY UNDECIDED

The NewsHour’s Ray Suarez watched Thursday’s debate in Florida with a group of voters who could prove decisive on Nov. 6. There were true undecideds, and persuadable Floridians, and the Romney-Obama matchup didn’t change any minds.

A large part of the group’s conversation centered on the debate’s discussion, or lack of, about jobs.

“Nothing got answered,” said Nancy Riordan, a voter who is currently unemployed and leans to Romney. “When is the spending going to stop and when is the money going to stop being printed? And let’s fix everyone. We’re not doing it.”

“I didn’t hear what I need to hear about jobs,” Charlie Adkins. “And, actually, I think that’s where the — where the conversation should have started.”

Watch Ray’s report here or below:

And if you missed Political Editor Christina Bellantoni’s Google-plus hangout with two undecided voters, here’s a recap of our online efforts that we aired on Thursday’s show:

FACE THE FACTS

Today’s tidbit from NewsHour partner Face the Facts USA focuses on unemployment data as the jobs figures are released.

The nonpartisan organization, releasing a fact a day through the election, found that “One in three male military veterans under the age of 24 is unemployed. The jobless rate in 2011 for these young veterans was 29.1 percent; for men in the same age group who did not serve, it was 17.6 percent.”

DAILY DOWNLOAD

On Thursday’s NewsHour, Margaret Warner talked with Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz of Daily-Download.com about how the first debate played out over social media.

As noted here on Thursday, it was the most tweeted political event in history, generating millions of comments, inspiring memes and retweets by the millisecond. The trio discussed the moments that broke through on Twitter, and also XBox’s snapshot poll of folks streaming the debate.

Watch the segment here or below:

2012 LINE ITEMS

  • More than 67 million people watched the first debate.

  • Romney on Sean Hannity’s show on Thursday commented on his 47 percent remarks: “In this case I said something that’s just completely wrong.”

  • A new Nevada-targeted Romney ad stars former NBA player Greg Anthony who at one time supported Obama.

  • The Denver Post rounded up both candidates’ stump speeches in Colorado Thursday.

  • The New York Times tracked Romney’s shift to the center with this handy interactive.

  • Huffington Post’s Jon Ward talked with loyal Obama supporters as they watched the debate, and they weren’t too happy.

  • The Root’s Elon James White truth squads campaign claims.

  • If you missed it, the NewsHour solicited two strategists’ takes on the debate from Democrat Mo Elleithee and Republican Rick Davis. And here is the roundup of the Medicaid chat with Kaiser Health News.

  • The Washington Post sees a shift in online campaign ads.

  • Say goodbye to election night exit polls and the voter demographics data they amass from 19 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Let’s count these anti-Romney Sesame Street Super PAC attack ads.

  • Paul Solman looked at whether candidates can get tax breaks for donating to their own campaigns.

  • Yes, someone autotuned the debate.

  • The NRA endorsed Romney on Thursday.

TOP TWEETS

OUTSIDE THE LINES

  • Gwen spent time in Missouri this past week covering the Senate race between Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger Rep. Todd Akin. She writes in her blog this week: “If Romney’s post-debate rebound lasts, no one will benefit more than Republican Senate candidates competing in tight races around the country. And in Missouri, at least, that’s what has Republicans so worried.”

  • The tally of unaffiliated voters in North Carolina has grown five times faster than voters registering with party affiliation since 2004.

  • Bill Clinton stumped on Thursday in western Pennsylvania for the Democrat running to hold onto Rep. John Murtha’s former district, Rep. Mark Critz, and he didn’t mention Mr. Obama.

  • Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad assesses the state of Republican freshmen.

  • Politico’s Manu Raju looks up at the Big Sky with a piece on Montana’s Senate race.

  • The son of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is running for a California statehouse seat, though the liberal-leaning justice must stay far away from engaging with the race, Buzzfeed reports.

  • Roll Call made some major changes to its race ratings.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.

ON THE TRAIL

All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama attends an event in Fairfax, Va., at 10:45 a.m. He then travels to Cleveland, Ohio, for an event at 2:35 p.m.

  • Mitt Romney holds an event in Abingdon, Va., at 11:35 a.m. He then travels to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a rally at 6:15 p.m.

  • Vice President Biden has no public events.

  • Paul Ryan has no public events.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:


For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.