The new unemployment report from the Labor Department released this morning finds 151,000 jobs were added last month, more than economists had predicted. 159,000 jobs were added in the private sector. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.6 percent. Nearly 15 million individuals are unemployed.
The Federal Reserve’s aggressive action to pump $600 billion into the economy sent stocks soaring yesterday to “their highest level in two years as investors expressed renewed confidence that someone in Washington was finally giving the sluggish recovery a lift.” Conservatives had slammed the Fed’s plans to engage in “quantitative easing,” but the Dow responded by jumping nearly 2 percent.
Conservative misinformation about the cost of President Obama’s upcoming trip to Asia is even further off base than usual, the Wall Street Journal notes, as conservatives from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to Matt Drudge and Glenn Beck claim the trip will cost $200 million a day, and that Obama is bringing a fleet of 40 warships with him. The White House says the claims “have no basis in reality.”
After attacking the U.S. Chamber for soliciting undisclosed contributions to air right-wing partisan attack ads, the Obama administration is now seeking to make amends. This week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with Chamber CEO Tom Donohue to discuss economic matters. And Obama is heading to India to meet with the U.S.-India Business Council, which solicits foreign funding to support the Chamber’s activities.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “seriously considering” running for the position of minority leader in the new Congress, ABC News reports. Most observers expected her to leave the Democratic leadership after Tuesday’s electoral defeat, but she is “methodically calling every Democratic House member who won” in an effort to gauge support for a bid.
In an interview with 60 Minutes, Obama acknowledged that he hasn’t been effective in promoting his economic-rescue message to anxious Americans and that he “stopped paying attention” to the leadership style he displayed during the presidential campaign. Obama said he recognizes now that “leadership is not just legislation,” and that “it’s a matter of persuading people.”
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who is vying for the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has vowed to call White House energy adviser Carol Browner to testify before the committee. “We have questions, and the American people deserve answers,” he writes at Human Events.
Incoming House Republicans are leaning on federal regulators to weaken the reforms in the recently passed financial regulatory reform bill. Likely House Financial Services chairman Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) said he wants to block the “radical leftist approach” of regulators.
And finally: Hours after President Obama “jokingly suggested at Wednesday’s day-after-election press conference that he might hold a ‘Slurpee Summit’ with the new Republican leadership,” 7-Eleven swung into overdrive to capitalize on his statement. Today, the convenience store chain “will place an ad in national newspapers that plays off the idea of Slurpees bringing people together.” “This is a rare opportunity for a brand,” says Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven.
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