Morning Briefing: February 3, 2012

Congressional Republicans are growing concerned with Mitt Romney, fearing his gaffes will hurt the party this fall. “Mr. Romney, unfortunately and through no fault of his own whatsoever, is almost the ideal caricature for the ‘divide America’ strategy of Barack Obama,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ). “It’s going to be important for him to be aware of that.”

According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 243,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. The numbers far surpassed analysts’ expectations of about 140,000 jobs.

All seven California affiliates of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation came out against the national organization’s decision to stop granting money to the Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, thanks to an internet fundraising appeal, Planned Parenthood may have already replaced the funding they lost from Komen, thanks in part to a large donation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Undermining notions about a liberal media bias, traditional media employees gave more than $350,000 to conservative super PACs in 2011.

President Obama will propose $6 billion in new aid for veterans, aimed at helping find jobs for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner took aim at critics of financial reform, arguing opponents of Dodd-Frank are risking another financial crisis. Every GOP candidate has pledged to repeal the landmark legislation. “Remember 2008, 2009, remember the fact that the reason we’re living with very high unemployment…If you want to go back to…then you should be in favor of repeal of the law,” Geither said.

According to a new analysis by the New York Times, over the last decade the Security and Exchange Commission has consistently avoided punishing big banks in fraud cases. The Times found nearly 350 instances where the agency gave Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America a pass on sanctions for giving investors misleading information or other misdeeds.

House Republicans unanimously voted down a measure admitting the Bush tax cuts added to the deficit last night. “I’m disappointed that every single one of my Republican colleagues refused to admit that the Bush Administration was wrong…that the Bush Tax Cuts would pay for themselves,” said Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), who sponsored the measure.

Mitt Romney’s hard-line stance on immigration is at odds with his church, which has “become a decisive player in promoting policies that are decidedly more friendly toward immigrants.” The Mormon Church helped pass a controversial pro-immigrant policy in Utah last year and has pushed for a balanced approach to immigration reform.

In the first full year since President Obama’s health care reform law took effect, the cost of prescription drugs to those on Medicare fell $2.1 billion in 2011. A total of 3.6 million people took advantage of the bill’s provisions, which provided beneficiaries with a 50 percent discount on certain brand-name drugs and another seven percent discount on generic prescriptions, or about $600 per person.

And finally: Fringe presidential candidates and internet sensations Vermin Supreme and Jimmy “The Rent is too Damn High” McMillan faced off in a presidential debate last night. “I’d say it’s a battle of the memes. He’s a meme. I’m a meme, and only one meme can really be president, I think,” Supreme sad beforehand.

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