Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jobs report crucial to presidential election outcome

By Paul Steinhauser, CNN Political Editor

(CNN) -- Hands down, it's the most important monthly economic report in the race for the White House.

And April's numbers from the Labor Department didn't provide President Obama a lot to brag about.

"After the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our businesses have now created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months, more than 1 million jobs in the six months alone. So that's the good news," Obama said Friday at an event in northern Virginia.

But the president went on to say, "There are still a lot of folks out of work, which means we gotta do more. If we're going to recover all the jobs lost during the recession, and if we're going to build a secure economy that strengthens the middle class, then we're going to have to do more."


 


Consider this: No sitting president facing an unemployment rate more than 8% has won another term since Franklin D. Roosevelt. So the headline from the Labor Department report Friday morning that the nation's unemployment level edged down from 8.2% in March to 8.1% in April sure seemed like good news for an incumbent president fighting for re-election. Especially since just about every poll indicates that the economy remains the top issue on the minds of Americans and that jobs remain the top economic concern.
 
But the Labor Department also reported that the number of jobs rose last month by 115,000, much lower than many economists had predicted. According to the report, 342,000 workers dropped out of the labor force, with the labor force participation rate, now at 63.6%, at its lowest level since 1981.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was quick to react to the jobs numbers.

"It's a terrible and very disappointing report this morning. Clearly the American people are wondering why this recovery isn't happening faster, what's taking years and years for the recovery to occur. And we seem to be slowing down, not speeding up. This is not progress," Mitt Romney said Friday in an interview on Fox News just minutes after the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the Labor Department report.


"A lot of American people are having difficult times, and this is not good news this morning," added the former Massachusetts governor, who argued the reason the rate dropped was because more people are leaving the workforce.


Romney's strategy is simple: Make the election a referendum on the president's record on the economy and jobs, and argue that Obama isn't doing a good job on creating jobs.

With six months to go until Election Day, a top Republican strategist says the jobs report spells trouble for the president.

"A disappointing jobs report means two things: One, President Obama is more likely to lose his job. Now, this election will increasingly become a referendum on Obama's performance. Voters may or may not believe Mitt Romney can turn things around, but it is becoming clearer that Obama's plan isn't going to cut it," says GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos.

"Two, to win, President Obama has to run the most brutal, negative, polarizing campaign in history -- on every subject but the economy. He has to pit young against old, rich against poor, women against men, and try to divide the country on other issues. I don't think that's the kind of country we want to be," said Castellanos, who was a top media adviser for Romney's 2008 nomination bid.

"Anytime you have to explain bad news, you've already lost. The Obama campaign has done the best they can with stubbornly high unemployment, talking about the number of jobs created and not the number of people who don't have jobs. But this doesn't help the general sense of unease about the economy among middle class Americans," says Rich Galen, who ran Newt Gingrich's press operation when he was speaker of the House and advised Fred Thompson's 2008 Republican presidential bid.

But be careful what you wish for, says Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala.

"Every time there's bad economic news for the middle class, the Champagne corks pop at one of Mitt Romney's many mansions. The bad job numbers are bad news for President Obama -- and for all Americans. So the GOP has to be careful not to celebrate bad times," says Begala, who was a top adviser in the Clinton White House and who now is a senior adviser to Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC.
So which candidate does the public think will do a better job turning things around?

A CNN/ORC International poll conducted last month indicated that Americans were split on which candidate could best jumpstart the economy, with 44% saying Obama would be more likely to get the economy moving and 42% saying that Romney would do a better job to stimulate the economy.

But the race for the White House is a battle for states and their electoral votes. And in two of the biggest and arguably most important battleground states, new surveys from Quinnipiac University indicate that when it comes to the economy, Romney has a slight advantage over the president.

Keep your eyes on the monthly unemployment reports between now and November. The numbers will be extremely telling.

Panetta needs to shut-up!

Panetta tells troops misconduct hurts morale, mission

By the CNN Wire Staff
 
 
(CNN) -- The enemy may be losing on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but he is trying to win the public relations war with the help of misconduct among a few U.S. military personnel, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told soldiers Friday.

Panetta, speaking at Fort Benning, Georgia, acknowledged the first anniversary of the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the accomplishments of troops serving across Afghanistan.

But he told members of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division preparing for deployment that they must live up to high standards of personal conduct and integrity -- and avoid mistakes and scandal.

"I know that you are proud to wear the uniform of your country and that you strive to live up to the highest standards that we expect of you," Panetta said. "But the reality is we are fighting a different kind of war and living in a different kind of world than when I was a lieutenant here at Fort Benning."

"These days, it takes only seconds -- seconds -- for a picture, a photo to suddenly become an international headline. And those headlines can impact the mission that we are engaged in," Panetta said. "It can put your fellow service members at risk. It can hurt morale. It can damage our standing in the world and they can cost lives."

A report issued this week by the Pentagon noted several "significant shocks" in Afghanistan from October to March, including the release of a video of U.S. Marines urinating on corpses, the inadvertent burning of religious materials by U.S. personnel and the alleged killing of 17 civilians by a lone U.S. soldier.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month condemned photos of U.S. soldiers posing with bodies of suspected insurgents.

Karzai, who described the images as "inhumane and provocative," said "the only way to put an end to such painful experiences" was to end the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Panetta has condemned the photos, reportedly taken in 2010 and published by the Los Angeles Times, saying they depict behavior that "absolutely violates" U.S. regulations and values.

"I know that none of you deliberately acts to hurt your mission or to put your fellow soldiers at risk," Panetta told GIs on Friday. "You are the best, and that's why I am here today to tell you that ... I need your leadership, I need your courage, I need your strength to make sure that we always abide by the highest standards."

Op-ed:
Will the Obama ‘I Killed bin Laden’ Tour continue?
By: Diane Sori

Last night I watched Hannity's program where former Navy SEALS and US Intelligence Officials discussed the killing and disposal of Osama bin Laden.  This show helped greatly in exposing Obama’s, 'I Killed bin Laden' Tour for what it is...a bloviating, self-gratifying, ‘it's all about me, me, me,’ political publicity stunt strictly done for re-election purposes by this narcissistic sorry excuse of a president.

However, when some of the people were speaking about bin Laden's burial at sea, I noticed a few others cringe and one man shock his head slightly. I have always wondered about that sea burial, so I decided to do some research on sea burials for muslims and here is what I found:

Muslims are NOT to be buried at sea unless there are extraordinary circumstances because sea burial is NOT part of islam nor is it customary.  The only instance where burial at sea is permissible in islam is if a muslim should die on a ship.

The rules regarding such death are very specific.  If a muslim dies on a ship and there is no chance of the body decaying, the body should be kept on the ship and buried in the ground upon reaching land.  However, if the body could decay, then after preparing the body according to muslim tradition and saying the required prayers, the body should be placed in either a clay vessel or have a weight tied to its feet, and only then lowered into the sea but NOT to a depth where it can be immediately eaten up by the sea predators.

Helloooo...bin Laden did NOT die on a ship!

"They (the US) can say they buried him (bin Laden) at sea, but they cannot say they did it according to islam," Mohammed al-Qubaisi, Dubai's grand mufti. "If the family does not want him, it's really simple in islam: You dig up a grave anywhere, even on a remote island, you say the prayers and that's it."

"Sea burials are permissible for muslims in extraordinary circumstances," he added. "This was not one of them."

No, this was not.  

Osama bin Laden was supposedly killed (remember some say he died years before and it was a double that was killed that day) in Pakistan nowhere near the sea, yet his body was taken to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian sea to be disposed of.  Senior US officials along with Obama claimed that burying him on land could have led to his grave site becoming a focus of contention for some and pilgrimage for others even though the basic requirement for muslim burials involves placing the body in a grave on land with the head pointed toward the holy city of Mecca.

So much for respecting islamic burial traditions.

Egyptian analyst Montasser el-Zayat agreed with Obama's decision saying bin Laden's sea burial was designed to prevent his grave from becoming a shrine. "They didn't want to see him become a symbol," he said. "But he was already a symbol in people's hearts."

Maybe in muslim’s hearts (which I’m not sure they have) but NOT in American hearts! 
 
Yet even with all the sea burial hoopla that went on and still goes on today, has anybody noticed how everyone has overlooked one simple fact...bin Laden could have been buried in an unmarked grave anywhere in the world or his body could have brought back to the states to do with what we pleased with the muslims having been no wiser.  And who really would care what the muslims thought anyway about what we did or didn’t do with bin Laden’s body because since when do we have to care how our enemies view us.

Oooops...I forgot we now live in Obamaland where our enemies interests and feelings come before that of ‘We the People.’  Sad, isn’t it.

So how convenient is it that Obama ordered the disposal of bin Laden’s body in the sea...so much for producing any overwhelming evidence that it was actually bin Laden who was dumped that day.  The question remains, at least for me it does, did our brave Navy SEALS risk their lives for a body double just so Obama could use this kill for his re-election campaign?  With NO concrete evidence, as in NO pictures, NO videos, NO anything for ‘We the People’ to see, I have to wonder did Obama and his minions have the audacity to set something like this up, including using our SEALS as a ruse, just to divert attention away from his failings at home, and I come up with a resounding YES he would!

And so his ‘I Killed bin Laden’ Tour continues and will continue until proof somehow surfaces that he did not.