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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Jobs

A plaintive Obama on his job: 'I can’t do it alone'

The Obamas arrive in NYC 9-19-11 for the UN and fundraisers

An enormous gap has opened in the economic reality that most Americans inhabit and the one that their perpetually campaigning president perceives.

According to the RealClearPolitics average, nearly three-out-of-four Americans believe Barack Obama has lead the nation down the wrong track; barely one-in-five disagree.

Their gloomy perception has something to do with at least 9% unemployment for 26 of the last 28 months, with the 14 million unemployed and the 18.5 million underemployed and with the White House's own economic growth predictions revised downward.a happy Obama in NYC 9-19-11

According to the Gallup Poll, Democrat Obama's job approval is at its lowest 40% now, with a majority (52%) disapproving.

But the president sees himself as having made "a bunch of tough choices" since taking office. And as a result of his leadership, he says, "We were able to pull this economy out of a Great Depression."

Obama spoke to about five dozen supporters Monday evening. Each had paid more than $35,000 to gather with him in an eighth floor apartment on New York's Park Avenue.

The week after his party endured an embarrassing special House election loss just across the East River, Obama is in Manhattan again ostensibly to attend the United Nations General Assembly session.

But he and wife Michelle will each also squeeze Democratic fundraising into their otherwise impossible schedules.

"I could not be prouder of the choices we made," the president proclaimed about his tenure so far.

However, perhaps inadvertently, Obama also uttered a backhanded admission of failure. "Although we stabilized the economy," he said, "we’ve stabilized it at a level that’s just too high, in terms of unemployment and in terms of hardship all across America."

Shunning the role of assertive chief executive, the former state senator sounded a complaint about politics in Washington: "What has been clear over the last two and a half years is that we have not had a willing partner."

Obama said he and Republicans have "a fundamentally different vision about where America needs to go," vowing to put teachers and construction crews back to work on rebuilding America.

Predictably, Obama said, "You’re already hearing the moans and groans from the other side about how we are engaging in class warfare and we’re being too populist and this and that and the other -- all the usual scripts. I mean, it’s predictable, the news releases that come out from the other side."

But then in a plaintive closing moment, the 44th president told the group, "I can’t do it alone."

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: David Karp / Associated Press (the Obamas arrive in New York City for fundraisers and the UN session and a happy Obama).

Late-night jokes: Secret Service responds to Facebook threats with its own

an oakland Raider Fan

As The Ticket's 73,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,200 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each evening. Feel free to pass this weekly collection on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Conan: Big announcement today: Facebook says it's appointed a new director of privacy. His name is Dave Jenkins. He lives at 17 Oakwood Lane and his PIN number is 3153.

Leno: Someone left threatening messages on the White House Facebook page. The Secret Service takes this very seriously and warns if caught, you will be Unfriended.

Fallon: A new study finds that a mother's diet affects her baby's allergies. Which can only mean one thing: My mom ate cats.

Conan: A Michigan man wearing a President Obama mask robbed a bank. Either that or President Obama has an exciting new plan to reduce the deficit.

Letterman: Did you hear in Brooklyn a guy found a three-foot rat! Ever hear of Gambian pouch rats? The pouch, that's where they keep their guns.

Leno: A new study says women are being more honest about their weight. Warning foa Scaler Guys: That doesn't mean YOU can be more honest about their weight. It's a one-way street.

Fallon: A South Carolina company is selling a device that tracks how many bites of food you have daily. I think we already have one. It's called your butt.

Fallon: In the last 30 years, the average homesize has increased 600 square feet. That's fitting since in the last 30 years the average person's size has increased 600 square feet.

Conan: A South Carolina man sneaked a TaserGun into an NFL game and tased somebody. The man was arrested and immediately signed by the Oakland Raiders.

Leno: Hmmm. You know that Philadelphia mint officer accused of stealing $2.4 million in coins? Well, he just paid his $50,000 bond all in nickels.

Leno: So this local porn studio is building a big underground bomb shelter for 1,500 people. Can you imagine that many poolboys, pizza guys and naughty nurses in one place?

Fallon: Researchers find that  your first decision is usually the right one. Then they were like, ‘Actually, wait, no. The second decision – THATS the right one.'

Leno: Good news for Obama. His approval overseas is very high, higher than at home. But then he's created more jobs overseas than at home.

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President Obama's job approval is now lower than his uncle's blood alcohol level

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press (an Oakland Raider fan); Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.

Obama's urgent jobs plan: Right now, 'right now' means sometime next month maybe

Podium Empty at the White House

Everybody remembers the urgency of President Obama's attitude toward the awful jobs situation.

Back in early August, Obama said the jobs situation was so urgent that he was going to give another speech about it -- in a month or so, in September after his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

And then in September the president announced he would give his major jobs speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7. But he neglected to check with congressional leaders first. And they suggested the 8th. So, since it was their House, the 8th it was.

"Tonight," the president said in the first 34 of his 4,021 words to a national television audience that night, "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."

The speech got panned as another political campaign one with Obama announcing, in effect, that....

Continue reading »

Weekly remarks: Obama says Congress must pass his jobs bill; GOP's Roskam hits 'red tape factory'

Democrat president barack Obama enjoys an Oval Office phone call

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

I’ve spent some time lately traveling the country and talking with folks outside of Washington.  And the number one issue for the people I meet is how we can get back to a place where we’re creating good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer some security.

That’s the idea behind the American Jobs Act. It’s a jobs bill that does two simple things: put more people back to work, and more money back in the pockets of people who are working.

This jobs bill puts construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and modernizing our schools.

This jobs bill puts teachers back in the classroom, and keeps cops and firefighters on our streets.

This jobs bill gives tax credits to companies that hire our veterans, because if you sign up to fight for our country, the last thing you should have to do is fight for a job when you come home. 

This jobs bill connects the long-term unemployed to temporary work to keep their skills sharp while they look for a job, and it gives hundreds of thousands of young people the hope of a job next summer.

This jobs bill cuts taxes for every small business owner in America. It cuts them even....

Continue reading »

What? California's Dianne Feinstein in poll trouble too?

Oh, no! Another Democratic senator in possible election trouble for 2012.

And from California already?

A new Field Poll just released this morning brings news that California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein is -- how can we put this in a liberal kind of way? -- approved by 41% of voters who want to see her reelected next year.California Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein 9-11

Unfortunately for her, more voters (fully 44%) disapprove of her continued employment in the U.S. Senate after 2012.

In blue California that makes for about a magnitude 5.2 quake.

The same poll finds that only 41% approve of Feinstein's job in Washington, while 39% disapprove.

That 41 approval number is the lowest the former mayor has ever had in her 20 years of no longer really living in California.

Another recent Field Poll showed many Californians are falling out of love with the teleprompter guy from Chicago. His California approval has slid below 50% for the first time ever, down to 46%.

That's a decline of about two points per month recently.

Is his slide now corroding the election prospects of even such party stalwarts as Feinstein?

Add to that the overall -- how can we say this in a polite way? -- disgust with the United States Congress (nine out of every 100 Californians now approve of those guys) and this could spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for Democrats. They or independent allies need to lose only six seats to turn the Senate over to those people that Vice President Joe "#%$&*(@" Biden politely calls "barbarians."

Democrats next year are defending two-thirds of the 33 Senate seats on state ballots. Good luck with that at 9% unemployment.

President Obama, who's now passed Biden as the nation's most voluble, least effective job creator, is about due for another money run to Hollywood.  

Oh, look! Our pal, the well-connected Tina Daunt is writing in the Hollywood Reporter that the one-time 40-something star of the celebrity set is having real trouble now raking in the easy dough from disappointed West Coast Dems.

Maybe the 78-year-old chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee will factor that intelligence into her as yet unannounced decision on seeking a fourth term on the same ticket as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's former boss.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Mandel Ngan / Getty Images (Feinstein).

How to retire Dennis Kucinich or Marcy Kaptur: Put both Dems in the same Ohio district

Ohio Democrat representatives Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich

Well, it looks like the new congressional redistricting will help Ohio get rid of at least one long-term Democratic representative in next year's House elections.

According to newly drawn district lines set to go to the Ohio Legislature any day, eight-term Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland and 15-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo are both in the same new narrow district running along the southern Lake Erie shoreline. Both have announced their candidacies.

The Buckeye state is home to House Speaker John Boehner and is losing two of its current 18 House seats.

But it will remain a key Midwestern battleground state on the presidential level. No Republican has won the presidency in more than a century without capturing Ohio.

After losing the state's Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton in 2008 (53-45), Obama beat John McCain (52-47) in the state where the Arizonan introduced his VP running mate, Sarah Palin, to the nation. Obama has visited Ohio frequently as presideOhio State Flag OhioHistoryCentraldotorgnt, most recently this week.

However, since 2008, Republicans have fed off dissatisfaction with Obama and the state's economy to hold the old George Voinivich U.S. Senate seat (Rob Portman), and win control of the state Legislature (which controls redistricting) and the governor's office (John Kasich).

They also tipped control of the congressional delegation from 10 Democrats and eight Republicans to 13 Republicans and five Democrats.

For next year the GOP is targeting first-term incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, who easily won Mike DeWine's seat, 56-44, during the Democrats' congressional takeover of 2006. Next year, however, Democrats must defend 23 of the 33 Senate seats being contested nationally.

You could tell Kucinich was excited about the remapping. In an email fundraising appeal Wednesday, he used two exclamation marks in the first two sentences: "We have a district! The race is on!"

Without mentioning Kaptur, the House's longest-serving female Democrat, Kucinich celebrated the demise of his old Cleveland district and the slicing off of its Republican areas to buttress other GOP districts.

For her part, Kaptur said the pair shared no hard feelings over their upcoming struggle. "We are friends," she said. "This is hard for us."

 RELATED:

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Rick Osentoski / Associated Press (Kaptur); Harry Hamburg / Associated Press (Kucinich); OhioHistoryCentral.org (state flag).

The upside to being 'poor' in America

Michelle Obama at a DC soup kitchen poses for a photo for a customer 3-06-09

The Census Bureau has released disturbing new numbers, showing the population of poor Americans at 46.2 million, or 15.1% of the population last year. That's the highest rate in 17 years and the largest number in 52 years.

The Census Bureau defines 2010 poverty as $22,314 for a U.S. family of four. Median household income remains just under $50,000.

The disappointing poverty information was widely disseminated and attributed by media to high unemployment nationally (above 9% for 25 of the last 27 months) and to the economy, which has remained stagnant despite nearly $1 trillion of government stimulus spending by the Obama-Biden administration.

Less noticed Tuesday, however, was the release of another non-government report on U.S. poverty, this one by the Heritage Foundation. It paints a dramatically different portrait of poverty in America than the popular conception of stark deprivation -- hungry people wearing rags and living in cars or boxes.

Using the same Census Bureau data, Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield looked into the actual living conditions of America's official poor.

And here are some of the startling steretype-shattering things they discovered:

During the year 4% of the poor became temporarily homeless. Forty percent live in apartments, less than 10% in mobile homes or trailers and about 50% live in standard one-family homes. In fact, 42% own their own home.

The vast majority are in good repair, with more living space per person than the average non-poor person in Britain, France or Sweden.

Ninety-six percent of poor parents say their children were never hungry during the year due to an inability to afford food.

Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning and 92% have a microwave.

One-third of poor households have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV, 70% have a VCR and two-thirds have satellite/cable TV, the same proportion as own at least one DVD player.

Half of the povery households have a personal computer and one-in-seven have two or more.

And half of those with children have a video game system like Xbox.

Almost 75% have a car or truck and nearly a third have two.

Other than that, being poor in America is just like you thought.

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961 days in, Obama is sick and tired of someone dawdling on new jobs

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press (A Washington soup kitchen client photographs Michelle Obama with his cellphone).

What, Obama worry? New York House district elects first Republican since 1920

Bob and Peggy Turner 9-14-11

President Obama is taking his big airplane out of Dodge today, down to North Carolina.

And who can blame him for going the opposite direction from Gotham after this morning's special election results in New York 9?

There, as forecast here last week, a 70-year-old Republican businessman and political novice named Bob Turner whacked veteran Democrat David Weprin, 53-47, in a special election to replace Rep. Anthony "Look at My Junk" Weiner.

This kind of stunning upset in that area of Brooklyn and Queens happens like clockwork every 91 years. Whenever the approval of a disinterested Democratic president hovers in the mid-30s on a stagnant economy and he looks wishy-washy on rigid support for Israel.

Weprin had everything going for him in Archie Bunker's boroughs:

He's an Orthodox Jew in a district that's 40% Jewish running against a Catholic. He's a well-known political name with state legislative experience. He has the backing of big-time Dems including Chuckie Schumer, who used to represent the district and bequeathed it to his aide Weiner. This Obama guy carried the area by 11 points back in 2008.Democrat David Weprin concedes 9-14-11 And Weprin's got a moustache.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, Weprin was off on the national debt by $10 trillion in one interview. But that presidential election win was 1,048 days ago. Obama's much better known now and that seems to work against him.

This White House has had its own agenda all along -- the healthcare heave, financial reforms. While all along polls told the Chicagoans that jobs and the economy are top priority.

If history repeats itself, this Obama crowd as it did after losing the Virginia governor's office and the New Jersey governor's office and Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, will find fault with someone else, likely the candidate.

The wise Marc Ambinder hears it already.

Remember all the White House whispers about lousy campaigner Martha Coakley when she lost to Scott Brown despite (or perhaps because of?) a last-minute campaign day with Obama?

And then there were last November's midterms when voters tossed all those House Pelosi people who obeyed Obama's pleas to pass healthcare.

Those dozens of Democrats going under the bus turned out great for the president, however. With a Republican House the Democratic president has someone else to blame now when his belated jobs bill goes nowhere.

That's what he'll be touting in Raleigh-Durham today, his doomed $447 billion jobs program.

Good thing that Air Force One, like Southwest, doesn't charge for baggage because along on Obama's Southern trip is a new Bloomberg News Poll. It shows, among other gloomy tidings, that 33% approve of his economy job, 39% like his healthcare handling and 30% are pleased with his deficit doings.

Oh, and a majority don't think his new jobs program will get the job done.

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961 days in, Obama's steamed no one's been creating new jobs like he said he would

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press (Republicans Bob and Peggy Turner celebrate his election to the House from New York's Ninth District early Wednesday); Craig Ruttle / Associated Press (Defeated Democrat David Weprin concedes).

This week's GOP debate: Rick Perry vs everyone else

CNN Tea party debate 9-12-11

As a former Air Force pilot, Rick Perry knows what happens to the leading plane in any dogfight. It's the target for the ones behind.

And so it was Monday night in Tampa as the unlikely partnership of CNN and the Tea Party Express produced another early Republican primary debate.

It was a good debate for moderator Wolf Blitzer, who kept the pace brisk and worked hard to get everyone involved with 30-second rebuttals.

It was also a good debate for beleaguered President Obama, who sent his doomed jobs bill to Congress in the morning with yet another Rose Garden photo op. Obamacare came in for the usual bashing. Just about everyone in the GOP field will repeal the legislative abomination as soon as they walk into the Oval Office after the parade on Jan. 20, 2013.

Perry wondered last week if he'd become the pinata. But this debate the forceful Mitt Romney, the game Jon Huntsman, the irascible Ron Paul, the earnest son of an Italian immigrant Rick Santorum and the increasingly aggressive Michele Bachmann aimed their fire at the tall Texan whose 30 short days in the race have changed everything and vaulted him into a substantial lead.

Which maintains the appearance of an ongoing race but means absolutely nothing this early. just ask Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, who lead at this time four years ago.

Bachmann, who rode her tea party leadership to victory in the Ames Straw Poll, was virtually invisible in last week's Reagan Library debate, rhetorically and sartorially. This time she came back in red and went after fellow tea party fave Perry at every chance, mainly over his admitted and aborted mistake of seeking to vaccinate sixth grade girls against the human papilloma virus.

Santorum hit Perry's government mandated vaccination too. And they hit Perry for championing in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants and for opposing a border fence with Mexico as not realistic.

Perry, as usual did not back down, but he needs to get smoother in his answers, whose pauses suggest uncertainty. "We were clearly sending a message to young people regardless of what the sound of their last name is that we believe in you," the governor said, adding it's the American way.

Marc Antony, oh, no, it was Mitt Romney actually, was full of praise for Perry's job creation record that grew employment just like his predecessors Democrat Ann Richards and Republican George W. Bush, only fewer, and with the help of oil reserves, Republican courts and Republican legislators.

Asked what he would bring to the White House, pizza exec Herman Cain said a sense of humor, which brought the evening's lone laughter. Along, of course, with his 9-9-9 plan--9% business, income and national sales taxes.

Newt Gingrich kept his criticism aimed at Obama, the main target in previous GOP debates.

Ron Paul again showed why his disciples love him and why he can never win this party's nomination. He is very consistent and firm in his strict constitutionalism themes and isolationism, which earned him boos from the audience of 1,000 conservatives. As he did with Giuliani last cycle, Paul lured Santorum into a fight by suggesting the United States invited the 9/11 attacks by aggression against other lands.

Romney pursued Perry like a prosecutor on Social Security, calling the Texan's Ponzi scheme comment over the top. Bachmann was relentless. She's seized on the inoculation of "little girls" as a violation of freedoms, parental rights and suggested a connection among a drug company, a former Perry aide there, campaign contributions and Perry's executive order.

It's a theme she carried into the post-debate interviews and a somewhat puzzling fundraising email immediately after titled "I'm offended."

Bachmann may also have set a modern debate record for mixed metaphors, talking about the Federal Reserve Bank:"They have got to be shrunk back down to such a tight leash that they're going to squeak."

There are some signs of desperation in the Bachmann camp since Perry's entry and her poll slump. She's cutting back South Carolina campaigning to focus on Iowa and her email solicitation asked for "a special emergency donation" without explaining what the emergency is. Money?

Earlier in the day, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal endorsed Perry and ex-candidate Tim Pawlenty endorsed Romney. Coincidentally, Romney will help pay down Pawlenty's campaign debts.

Speaking of campaign dropouts, the GOP field will winnow in coming weeks from the surviving eight. The next Republican set-to isn't for another nine days, which is about how long it will take you to read Monday's full CNN transcript over here.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to 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.

Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Late-night jokes: Obama vows to double August's job growth of zero

Button Obama Keeping My Job is my Job 1As The Ticket's 73,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,200 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 this weekly collection on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Letterman: Wasn't Labor Day great, folks? Labor Day is now that time of year when Americans take three days off from looking for work.

Fallon: President Obama is refusing to give specifics about his jobs plan because he wants people to tune in on Thursday. That’s not how you handle the economy -– that’s how you handle the ‘American Idol’ results show. 'I have a plan that could put millions back to work. You’ll find out more…after the break.'

Leno: President Obama's jobs speech was tonight: A guy whose job nobody approves of giving a speech about jobs that don't exist to people who don't have any jobs.

Fallon: President Obama's $447-billion spending plan is called the American Jobs Act. It would have had a cooler name, but the name guy was laid off six months ago.

Leno: President Obama gives his big speech this week on job growth. How many of you think it will be a really short speech?

Leno: President Obama named his new $447-billion legislation the American Jobs Act. Better than the original name, the Save My Ass Act.

Letterman: Don't forget, folks, tomorrow is take your son or daughter with you to the Unemployment Office Day.

Leno: A new L.A. Times poll says 75% of Californians think the country is headed in the wrong direction. It's so bad that 60% of Californians are thinking about returning to Mexico.
Obama awaits a white house cue
Fallon: The Libyan rebels are claiming that they have Moammar Kadafi trapped within a 40-mile radius. Or as that’s also known, not trapped.

Letterman: Autumn's in the air. You can tell it's fall because that’s when the networks begin collecting nuts for their reality shows.

Leno: Government statistics show the U.S. economy created zero jobs in August. President Obama now says he's confident this month he can double that.

Conan: The L.A. Dodgers may be bought by Chinese investors. So, good news for America: Finally, something China is not going to win at!

Conan: Did you hear this? A new report says the U.S. Postal Service could go out of business this winter. On the bright side, the Post Office won't get that report in the mail for another two years.

Leno: The government says there are now 3 million fewer U.S. smokers than five years ago. Mainly due to a condition known as being dead.

Leno: The NFL season kicks off Thursday night right here on NBC. We are all very excited. The game will be on right after the season finale of President Obama.

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961 days in, Obama sick and tired of his own dawdling on job creation

President Obama's job approval is now lower than uncle's blood alcohol level

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to 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.

Photo: Los Angeles Times illustration by Andrew Malcolm; Pete Souza / White House.

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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.
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