Morning Briefing: March 9, 2012

The economy created 227,000 jobs in February, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, though the unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent. Both December and January’s numbers were revised up, adding more than 60,000 jobs above previous estimates.

Nearly 100 House Republicans have already abandoned Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on two different versions of his signature highway bill, and it’s becoming a bit of a pattern. Politico notes today that the loss is only the latest for Boehner, who has seen many of his bills go down in floor votes — something that rarely happened under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The Chamber of Commerce plans a $50 million blitz, continuing its attacks on Democratic House and Senate candidates, the Center for Public Integrity reports. The spending “underscores the huge political stakes” for the Chamber’s corporate supporters from big energy, insurance, health care, and Wall Street firms.

Mitt Romney is having trouble getting money from small-dollar donors. Though he raised a record number of small-dollar donations in February, he is still under-performing in that category compared to the other candidates. The vast majority of his funding comes from large, wealthier donors.

Chris Hughes, the 28-year-old co-founder of Facebook, is buying The New Republic, the 98-year-old liberal political magazine for an undisclosed amount, reports The New York Times. Hughes, who also ran the social media arm of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, will assume the role of publisher and editor-in-chief.

Republicans on two House committees have already passed a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a key part of the Affordable Care Act meant to control costs, but a new CBO report shows that eliminating the board would add $3.1 billion to the deficit over 10 years.

Top-level Romney surrogate Bob Dole told ABC News that he thinks the health care plan that Mitt Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts will be a liability for the campaign in November. Dole hit Romney over the plan’s mandates, saying, “that’s the one thing that Romney has to answer to.”

President Obama is boosting his efforts to revive the housing market, with a particular focus on renegotiating bad mortgages and helping foreclosures. This week, Obama doubled down on his efforts to get military families out of foreclosure, and to help people with government-insured mortgages.

And finally: Mitt Romney tried his best to pander to Southerners yesterday, but fell a bit short. After admitting the South would be an “away game” for him, the Massachusetts multi-millionaire, told a rally, “I am learning to say y’all and I like grits, and things,”