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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Budget

Obama jobs speech to Congress: Providing 'a jolt to an economy that has stalled'

Capitol Bldg on a Rainy day 8-11


President Obama's remarks to a joint session of Congress, as provided by the White House

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse. 

This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President?  What will it mean for Congress?  How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now: They don’t care about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by -- giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage, postponing retirement to send a kid to college. 

These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off.   They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share –- where....

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Tonight's Republican debate may really be between 2 Texans, Rick Perry and Ron Paul

Republicans Governor Rick Perry and Representative Ron Paul of Texas

Eight Republicans will line up for the debate in the shadow of Ronald Reagan's Air Force One in his presidential library this evening.

But the most interesting debate dynamic will likely be between the two Texans onstage with the same pair of initials -- Rick Perry, the governor, and Ron Paul, the representative.

This was supposed to be the second GOP panel for Perry, the late-comer and new front-runner. But he pulled out of Sen. Jim DeMint's values forum in South Carolina Monday to fly home and be governor during the giant state's wild wildfires.

Tonight, everyone will pay verbal tribute to Ronald Reagan, who might have some trouble winning the presidential nomination of the new Grand Old Party these days. The debate will be carried live on MSNBC at 5 p.m. Pacific.

Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman will be asked about their jobs plans. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich will chime in. For an interesting look at the surviving GOP field, check out Chris Stirewalt's perceptive rundown here.

Obama will be a certain target but less so because Republican House Speaker John Boehner saved the Democrat from himself. Obama wanted to talk jobs tonight too to a joint session of Congress. Boehner suggested Thursday was better and the president acquiesced.

Cross-state rivals Perry and Paul have already been sniping at each other. The 11-term congressman has criticized the nation's longest-serving governor as not a real conservative and dismissing him as more of the status quo.Texas Republican governor Rick Perry listens to wildfire victim Cindy Cruz in Bastrop 9-5-11

Tuesday Perry's surprisingly well-organized camp fired a salvo at Paul, citing his 1987 resignation letter from the Republican Party in which he criticized the president now entombed just steps from tonight's debate site.

"There is no credibility left for the Republican Party as a force to reduce the size of government," Paul wrote near the end of Reagan's second term before Paul ran for president on the Libertarian ticket. "That is the message of the Reagan years."

“It will be interesting," a Perry spokesman suggestively suggested, "to hear Rep. Paul explain why Reagan drove him from the party at tomorrow’s debate on the grounds of the Reagan Library."

Recent polls have confirmed Perry's rapid surge to the front of the Republican field. He appears to have most hurt Bachmann, another tea party favorite who can be expected to attack. A Gallup Poll this week found Perry and Romney to be about equally well-liked among Republicans (seven-out-of-ten).

But Gallup's intensity score gives Perry twice the rating of Romney, 25-12.

A larger question many ask is how good is Perry at debating? Put another way, how bad can he be? He's never lost an election.

It's still almost a year out from the GOP convention in Tampa. Ahh, Florida in August. Who wouldn't want to wear funny hats in that weather?

But this month is already crucial. It's the last in the second quarter of campaign fundraising. We'll soon see how big a money bump Bachmann got for winning the Ames Straw Poll. If Paul's $1.6 money-bomb was a one-day explosion?

And how big are the bundles being assembled by Perry's reputed hundreds of newly-recruited, enthusiastic bundlers, including some well-connected folks in California, where Perry will forage for cash all day Thursday.


Here's how President Obama wants 9/11 observed

77% of Americans say Obama leads nation down wrong track

Obama's approval now lower than his uncle's blood-alcohol level

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: David J. Phillip / Associated Press (Perry, left); Mary Ann Chastain / Associated Press (Paul); Alberto Martinez / Associated Press (Perry listens to wildfire victim Cindy Cruz in Bastrop, Sept. 5).

As big jobs speech looms, 77% say Obama has nation on wrong track

Obama Labor Day crowd in Detroit shows president how many years he will have in office 9-5-11

It could be worse.

But not much.

With only 427 days left before Americans pass judgment on Barack Obama's presidency, nearly eight out of 10 of them say in a poll that they believe the country is seriously off on the wrong track.

That 77% is up 17 points just this year. And it's the highest since George W. Bush went back to Texas.

Here's how bad the new ABC News/Washington Post Poll is for Obama: The good news for now is that by only a 2-to-1 margin (34%-17%), respondents say the Democrat's efforts on the economy have done more harm than good.

After all, with recorded unemployment at 9.1%, no new jobs created last month and no outlook for improvement, the number could be 3-to-1. And it may well become that. No wonder Rick Perry entered the Republican race.

It's so bad that Vice President Joe Biden may want to look around for a new top of the ticket in 2012, lest he lose his job and that lucrative rent on the guest house from the Secret Service agents protecting him.

Even less-than-conservative websites like are publishing anguished articles nowadays such as "What Democrats Can Do About Obama."

The former state senator appeared Monday at a Detroit Labor Council rally.

Introducing the nation's chief executive, Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. appealed for union members to follow Obama's campaign promise to shun harsh partisanship and to reason and work together with political opponents such as thjames Hoffa exhorts union members in detroit 9-5-11e "tea party" to build a better America for everyone.

Well, no, actually Hoffa didn't do that. He said many things about the tea party. But here's the Hoffa action sentence:

"Let's take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong."

Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer said Hoffa's "inexcusable" and "inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric" amount to "a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members."

ABC News' Jake Tapper and Mary Bruce asked for White House comment. You will be shocked to learn that presidential spokesmen declined to comment on the union president's call to take out tea party people, presumably not in a social dating sense.

This comes about two weeks after Joe Biden called tea party people "terrorists" and the same day he called them "barbarians" in a Cincinnati labor speech.

The new ABC News poll also revealed that a record 62% of respondents say they disapprove of Obama's work on the economy. In a measure of intensity that analysts called "striking," nearly half the respondents (47%) said they "strongly" disapprove of Obama's performance, while barely 15% strongly approve.

Usually when Obama gets in trouble like this, the Real Good Talker does two things: He schedules a round of fundraisers to hear the paying crowds cheer ("Thank you. Thank you. Be seated.") and he announces a "major speech" to fix things up. Oh, look! He's scheduled a major speech for Thursday night to talk about a jobs plan after 961 days in office.

Since all his other jobs speeches in recent months haven't worked, maybe one more will.

You know, how Obama inherited a huge economic hole and how he knows the recovery is insufficient (or nonexistent, depending on your employment status) and how he really wants Congress to finally get off its collective duff and do something about the problem that he and Joe said was fixed two years ago. Especially those pesky Republicans who didn't control either house back then.

In Detroit Monday, a tieless Obama warned Republicans, who were not numerous in the crowd, that if the GOP didn't accept the new job and spending ideas that he hasn't detailed yet, he is going to take his case to the American people.

Judging by the steady decline in Obama's job approval all summer and his pathetic numbers in this latest poll, Republicans can only hope that the Democrat carries through on that threat.


National debt grows now at $3 million per minute

Obama White House downgrades its own economic forecast

Obama bus tour themes: Things are screwed up and we need to spend more money

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Upper photo: President Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit. Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Lower photo: Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr. at the Labor Day rally. Credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Sunday shows: Cheney, Huntsman, DeMint, Trumka

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) with Dana Loesch, Jon Karl, Clarence Page, Michael Gerson, Carol Lee, Jared Bernstein and Douglas Holtz-Eakinformer vice president Dick Cheney Book In My Time

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Frank Gehry, Heather Knight, Zanab Salbi, Sheryl WuDunn and husband Nicholas Kristof, and Platon

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: DeMint, James Hoffa of the Teamsters, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Michael Duffy and Peter Baker

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Dick Cheney with Ed Gillespie, Bill Kristol, Kirsten Powers and Mara Liasson

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Paul Gigot, Mark McKinnon and Tom Friedman

-- Andrew Malcolm

Why wait until Sunday for politics? Click here now to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle now. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share this item with friends.

Weekly remarks: GOP's Rep. Bob Goodlatte seeks balanced budgets

Capitol Hill

Weekly remarks by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Hello, I’m Congressman Bob Goodlatte from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s a pleasure to speak with you on Labor Day weekend as we honor the ingenuity and perseverance of America’s workers.

Of course, ours are the best workers in the world, and given a level playing field, they can compete and win against anyone.

Except we don’t have a level playing field. Our employers face some of the highest tax rates in the world.  Endless red tape makes it harder to plan and invest. Our national debt – much of which is owed to China – is on track to exceed the size of our entire economy.

The president’s ‘stimulus’ spending has proven counterproductive. Government has gotten in the way when it can be part of the solution.  With millions of Americans still asking ‘where are the jobs?,’ the president should help lead a bipartisan effort to remove government barriers to job creation.

We can start by eliminating burdensome mandates and regulations; stopping policies that drive up gas prices; expanding American energy production in order to increase jobs and American manufacturing; and approving free trade agreements that open new markets to American-made goods.

These ideas and other much-needed reforms are part of Republicans’ Plan for America’s Job Creators.  Learn more by visiting

While our workers are being held back by Washington, there’s nothing in place to stop the federal government from bankrolling further big government spending ... the kind that leads to government expansion into private-sector jobs, burdensome mandates on job creators and skyrocketing national debt.

For hard-working families, making tough decisions to live within your means is a necessity. For 49 out of 50 states, it’s the Virginia Republican Representative Bob Goodlattelaw.  So you’re right to expect no less from Washington.

This fall, both the House and the Senate will vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that would force Congress to spend only what the government takes in. 

This would ensure spending cuts made today don’t easily disappear tomorrow. That doesn’t just mean a fiscal house in order: it also means more certainty for the private sector and a better environment for job creation.

That’s why, in his upcoming jobs speech, President Obama should call on both parties to come together this fall and send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for ratification.

This amendment isn’t my idea; it’s not a new idea. Thomas Jefferson expressed strong support for it in 1798. On March 2nd, 1995, the U.S. Senate failed – by one vote – to send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states. 

More than $9 trillion has been added to our national debt since. That’s a 180 percent increase.   Imagine how different things would be if the amendment had passed. We cannot afford to make the same mistake.

This won’t be easy.

As you know, a constitutional amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress before it goes to the states. We need bipartisan support to get the Balanced Budget Amendment across the finish line.

So to help spread the word, we’ve set up a website where you can learn more and share information about the importance of a Balanced Budget Amendment. The address is  We’ll also be talking about this on Twitter using the hashtag ‘BBA4jobs.’

This Labor Day, America’s workers are right to ask where the jobs are. You deserve better answers.  The policies coming out of Washington aren’t getting it done.

By focusing on removing barriers to job creation – and creating barriers to debt creation – we can get our economy back on track.  Together, we can restore the promise that for all of us is America. Thank you for listening, and enjoy your Labor Day weekend.     ####

(UPDATE: As of publication time, the president's weekly remarks had not been received. They will be added if they do arrive.)


GOP's Dean Heller says regs kill jobs; Obama sees unity in 9/11

Gov. Kasich seeks real presidential leadership; Obama confident on future

Obama says all must sacrifice; GOP asks where are the jobs?

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Photos: Alex Wong / Getty Images; Rep. Goodlatte's office.

Bachmann on Obama jobs: He 'keeps giving speeches to announce he's going to give another speech'

Republican Representative Michele Bachmann campaigns in Florida 8-29-11

Perhaps you've heard that the next major Republican presidential candidate debate is Sept. 7 at the Reagan Presidential Library.

Perhaps you've heard President Obama wants to give yet another jobs speech because none of the others have worked. The Democrat thinks it would be a good idea to give the speech before a joint session of Congress, which would guarantee prime-time TV coverage, regardless of content.

And the Democrat just happened to pick the evening of Sept. 7 as his preferred talking date.

In return, Republican House Speaker John Boehner says he'd love to finally hear the president's thoughts on creating jobs. So, how about the night of Sept. 8, because everyone knows there are a lot of security concerns on Capitol Hill when any chief executive visits?

(UPDATE: The White House has agreed to give the speech on Sept. 8, as Boehner suggested.)

Now, Rep. Michele Bachmann, who would like to be president, thinks she has figured out why the Democrat chose the night of the Republican debate for his speech: Insecurity. He's trying to hide behind all the media attention he knows the GOP faceoff would draw.

Here is the not-so-brief analysis of Obama's jobs speech strategy that Bachmann just gave Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto:

They have no plan. The president’s poll numbers are tanking. They don’t know what to do about the economy because they only have one plan, which is spend more, tax more, borrow more.

I mean, quite honestly, that’s all we’ve seen, and the president keeps giving speeches to announce he’s going to give another speech that maybe yet one day we will see a plan come from him, and the only inklings we have from him are that we will probably see a … stimulus.


Michele Bachmann's memoir due out in November

Rick Perry widens lead over Romney, Bachmann

Michele Bachmann captures the Ames Straw Poll

-- Andrew Malcolm

Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Carl Juste / MCT (Bachmann campaigns in Florida this week)

Late-night jokes: East Coast quake also cracks Nancy Pelosi's hair

Happy Nancy Pelosi 6-7-11As The Ticket's 71,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,100 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Jay Leno: A new report out says that a growing number of Americans are worth $1 million. The bad news: Last year they were worth $5 million.

David Letterman: Things are looking really bad for President Obama. His job approval is way down. He's up there on Martha’s Vineyard again. And it looks like he may be voted off the island.

Conan O'Brien: Oprah Winfrey is returning to TV with a new show. That’s right, that’s how bad things are in this country -- even Oprah has run out of money.

Jimmy Fallon: A new study says eating healthy adds $380 to your grocery costs yearly. Or as Americans put it, ‘Cool, I saved $380 this year!’

O'Brien: A brawl broke out during Vice President Joe Biden's recent speech in China. Apparently, someone was blocking the exit.

O'Brien: The stock market plunged today and the price of gold is at a record high. In fact, the price of gold is so high, today an angry mob looted Mr. T.

Letterman: You know that big East coast earthquake, 5.8 down in D.C. It was so strong that Nancy Pelosi's hair actually cracked.

Letterman: As you know, President Obama was vacationing on Martha's Vineyard. It's really sad when your SPF factor is higher than your approval rating.

Letterman: If Libya's Kadafi goes, can that country get a functioning stable government? And if they can, for the love of God, will they show us how to do it?

O'Brien: Ford is working on a new automotive technology to enable your car to communicate with other cars around it.  The new technology is being called a horn.Yoda puppet this is

Letterman: I tell ya tough times for President Obama. His poll numbers are way down. The other day he went for a walk on the beach. And the tide went out.

Letterman: Regis Philbin celebrated his 80th birthday quietly with his money. 80 years old. Oh, and firefighters have the cake under control.

O'Brien: The American Psychological Assn. says that workplace incivility is on the rise. I heard about that from one of my stupid employees who I'll probably fire.

O'Brien: A year after their rescue, those Chilean miners are still unemployed. Most employers hesitate to hire them because of the giant gap in their resume.

O'Brien: They have a new GPS device out with Yoda's voice. Is it just me? If you are getting turn-by-turn directions, do you really want someone who speaks backwards?


Obama bus tour takes a detour

Conan uncovers secret clause in debt deal

Obama's new economic plan: Buy lottery tickets and hope

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: (top) Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). Credit: Yuri Gripas / AFP/Getty Images

(bottom) Yoda puppet that is. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times

Weekly remarks: GOP's Dean Heller sees regs killing jobs; Obama 9/11 should bring unity

Capitol Hill

Weekly remarks by Sen. Dean Heller, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Hi, I’m Senator Dean Heller from the great state of Nevada.   

Americans have had to endure great hardships over the past few years. This recession has robbed millions of people of their jobs, their homes and their sense of security.

No state has been hit harder than Nevada. My state has the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. There is no question that the status quo of dysfunctional government must end. People from all over the country are struggling just to get by and are desperate for real solutions.

Unfortunately, job creation and economic growth has taken a back seat to political posturing and grandstanding in Washington.

It is clear that the approach of this administration and its supporters have taken for economic recovery has failed miserably. 

Out of control spending, a healthcare law that no one can afford, and a seemingly endless....

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New national debt data: It's growing about $3 million a minute, even during his vacation

Obama Reid Pelosi happy, file

Swallow all liquids in your mouth before reading any further.

Updated numbers for the national debt are just out: It's now $14,639,000,000,000.

When Barack Obama took the oath of office twice on Jan. 20, 2009, CBS' amazing number cruncher Mark Knoller reports, the national debt was $10,626,000,000,000.

That means the debt that our federal government owes a whole lot of somebodies including China has increased $4,247,000,000,000 in just 945 days. That's the fastest increase under any president ever.

Remember the day the Democrat promised to close the embarrassing Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility within one year? That day the national debt increased $4,247,000,000. And each day since that the facility hasn't been closed.

Same for the day in 2009 when Obama flew all the way out to Denver to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill that was going to hold national unemployment beneath 8% instead of the 9.1% we got today anyway? Another $4,247,000,000 that day. And every day since, even Obama golfing and vacation days.

Same sum for the day Obama flew Air Force One nearly four hours roundtrip to Columbus, Ohio for a 10-minute speech about how well the stimulus was working in the politically crucial Buckeye state. Ohio's unemployment rate just jumped to 9% from 8.8% anyway.Obama stops his tour bus to Eat some Ice Cream in Iowa 8-16-11

Or last week's three-day Midwestern tour in the president's new $1.1 million Death Star bus? National debt went up $16,988,000,000 while he rode around speaking and buying ice cream cones.

Numbers with that many digits are hard to grasp, even for a Harvard head. So, let's put it another way:

One billion seconds ago Bill Clinton was nearing the end of his two terms and George W. Bush's baseball collection was still on the shelves in the Austin governor's office.

The nation's debt increased $4.9 trillion under President Bush too, btw. But it took him 2,648 days to do it. Obama will surpass that sum during this term.

Now, how to portray a trillion, or 1,000 billions. One trillion seconds ago much of North America was still covered by ice sheets hundreds of feet thick. And the land was dotted by only a few dozen Starbuck's.

Obama is saying yes, we can get control of the national debt. But ominously every time he says that he adds that trillions of dollars in infrastructure repairs are badly needed across the country. And with interest rates so low, according to the thinking on Obama's planet, now is an excellent time to borrow even more money.

So, it looks like not too long before Americans learn what comes after 1,000 trillions.

It's quadrillion. But for Bernanke's sake, please don't tell anyone in Washington.


Americans downgrade Congress to historic low 13% job approval

31 months in, Obama says he expects to have his jobs plan in a month or so

Obama bus tour meme: Washington (not him) screwed up and we should spend more

-- Andrew Malcolm

Keep track of this administration's spending; follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: Associated Press (Obama and Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid plot more spending); Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press (Obama gets off the bus for some ice cream in Iowa, Aug. 16).

Weekly remarks: Obama 'confident in our future'; John Kasich urges real presidential leadership

Democrat president barack Obama enjoys an Oval Office phone call

President Obama's weekly remarks, as provided by the White House

Hello from the Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Illinois!  For the past few days, I’ve been traveling to small towns and farm towns here in the heartland of this country. I sat down with small-business owners in Gutenberg, Iowa; and ranchers and farmers in Peosta.  I had lunch with veterans in Cannon Falls, Minnesota; and talked to plant workers at a seed distributor in Atkinson, Illinois. And to the girls volleyball team at Maquoketa High School, let me just say one thing: Go Cardinals.

Now, I’m out here for one reason: I think Washington, D.C., can learn something from the folks in Atkinson and Peosta and Cannon Falls. I think our country would be a whole lot better off if our elected leaders showed the same kind of discipline and integrity and responsibility that most Americans demonstrate in their lives every day.

Because, the fact is, we’re going through a tough time right now. We’re coming....

Continue reading »

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



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