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Jobs report unlikely to give Democrats midterm boost

BY Domenico Montanaro, Terence Burlij and Simone Pathe  April 4, 2014 at 9:04 AM EST
About 1,500 people seeking employment wait in line to enter a job fair outside the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 28 in Washington, D.C.  Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

About 1,500 people seeking employment wait in line to enter a job fair outside the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater March 28 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • Jobs numbers for March released
  • This week by the numbers
  • Bush-Jindal 2016?
  • And who attends a pro-cock-fighting rally but doesn’t know it?

Jobs report: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent. The employment gains from January and February were 37,000 higher than previously reported. During the 2012 presidential election, it held true that if the jobs report showed gains above 150,000, that was a good one-day story for the president (even though there is a healthy margin of error and revisions). If it was below, that wound up being bad. Now, it seems Wall Street’s expectations have increased to closer to 200,000, and the political expectations have moved along with it, especially since 11 of 14 months from October 2013 to November 2014 showed gains of 200,000 or close to it. And the unemployment rate has steadily and slowly declined from a high of 10 percent in October 2009 to in the 6s. For Democrats hoping to point to an improving economy heading into the midterms, Friday’s report isn’t likely to give them much of a jolt, but it isn’t bad either.

This week by the numbers: Given Friday’s jobs report, here’s a look at the week, by the numbers:

  • 7.1 million: The number the White House says signed up for the Affordable Care Act, surpassing the 7 million sign-up goal. The law is still far from a political winner for Democrats heading into the November midterms, but the number might quiet some of the attacks from the right (for now).
  • 5 to 4: The Supreme Court handed down a major campaign finance decision Wednesday lifting the cap on the overall amount one person can give to candidates, campaign committees and PACs in an election cycle.
  • $5.1 trillion: That’s how much House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s latest budget would cut over the next decade. It includes major changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and the tax code. Republicans aren’t totally on board with it.
  • 17: House GOP leaders expressed confidence Ryan’s budget would pass when it comes up for a vote next week, but without Democratic support, only 17 Republicans would have to break ranks for it to fail. Last year, without a campaign looming, 10 Republicans voted against it.
  • 55: The number of times House Republicans have now voted to repeal either all or some portion of the Affordable Care Act.
  • $1.5 million: That’s how much Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is reportedly getting for an unwritten, untitled memoir. That’s the most EVER for a conservative political book, even more than the $1.25 million Sarah Palin got.
  • 6 p.m. ET: Be sure to tune in to Friday’s NewsHour, where Judy Woodruff will get analysis from Mark Shields and David Brooks on the week’s political news.

2014/2016 wrap – Bush-Jindal… Is that the ticket? Potential 2016 hopefuls Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana will appear in a TV ad Sunday for NewRepublican.org, a PAC created last year to outline a positive agenda for the party… North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is campaigning with West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, running for the Senate. There is almost no state where President Obama is more UNPOPULAR than West Virginia, and Tennant needs surrogates, who speak, well, West Virginian. … Speaking of surrogates, Sarah Palin campaigned (again) for Karen Handel for Senate. She was a Palin favorite in her failed bid for governor in 2010. … Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston used an Obama impersonator to leave a fake voicemail in a new ad saying he doesn’t want Kingston in the Senate. … My bad: Matt Bevin wound up speaking at a pro-cockfighting rally in Kentucky. He later said he didn’t know he was at a cockfighting rally, but his campaign, when asked whether Bevin thought the practice should be legal, called it a state issue. … Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is up with an anti-“Obamacare” ad.

Quote of the day: “I just got a note saying I’m in the wrong hearing.” – Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, after realizing he showed up at the wrong hearing Thursday. But, hey, it could have been worse.

Another quote of the day: “Don’t paint your wife.” – Former President George W. Bush on what not to do. Former First Lady Laura Bush said his portrait of her needed “some work.”

LINE ITEMS

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to recommend the White House declassify its report of Bush-era CIA interrogation tactics.
  • A final vote in the Senate on extending long-term unemployment insurance benefits was delayed Thursday after Republicans attempted to attach an amendment to the bill that included approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, as well as repeal of the health care law and medical device tax. Final passage of the measure is now expected Monday.
  • The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports 18 House Democrats voted with Republicans “to change the definition of full-time work as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.” The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the measure would result in 1 million people losing their employer-based health insurance. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the proposal.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday Democrats will not accept less than $10.10 an hour for a new federal minimum wage. “The reason we picked that number, $10.10, gets you out of poverty — $10 doesn’t. $10.05 doesn’t. We didn’t pick that number just to be fun,” Reid said.
  • Secretary of State John Kerry’s Mideast peace talks look like they’re on the rocks. Kerry said the administration will review its strategy, calling this “reality check time.”
  • Rep. James Moran, D-Va., doesn’t think legislators earn enough to live in Washington, D.C.
  • Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter throws cold water on Sen. Rand Paul’s 2016 GOP frontrunner status.
  • Nathan Gonzales explains why the GOP has trouble electing women to Congress.
  • The White House is not pleased with Samsung’s promotion of the selfie with Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz and the president.
  • Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is challenging Sen. Thad Cochran in this year’s GOP primary, faced questions Thursday about being listed as a keynote speaker at an upcoming rally that included a group that sells “white pride” merchandise. “Chris McDaniel never agreed to attend the event and will not attend the event,” a McDaniel spokesman told NBC News.
  • Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is going up with his first ad since 2010, reportedly to get Republicans engaged in politics during the midterms.
  • Politico’s Anna Palmer looks at how Republican Taylor Griffin is trying to have it both ways in his bid to unseat Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. — exploiting his Washington connections to play up his North Carolina ties.
  • California Democrats are worried about the fallout from charges and a conviction of three state senators.
  • There’s a reunion of Bush 41 alums in College Station, Texas, Friday.
  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.

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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Terence Burlij at tburlij-at-newshour-dot-org.

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