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Washington Extra

June 15, 2012


Washington ExtraJune 14, 2012
 When it comes to the economy, President Obama won’t be running on his record. He may have pulled the country out of recession after six months in office and delivered 27 straight months of job growth, but the recovery is just too shallow to show off. And there’s little he can do to make it better by election time.So what Obama did today with his much anticipated economic speech was enlarge the frame of reference from the three and a half years of his presidency to a couple of decades.In a somber and professorial tone, he took his Cleveland audience back a decade and dissected the Republican economic vision that landed America in a deeper than normal recession. He pivoted to the future and asked them to imagine their lives with more of that under a President Romney and his allies in Congress.

“If you agree with the approach I just described, if you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney,” he said. He then laid out his vision, calling it “our North Star — an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class, that provides ladders of opportunity for folks who aren’t yet in the middle class.” 

Obama is coming off a tough couple of weeks and this speech might just spell the beginning of a recovery. It’s not the economic one he wants, but rather the rhetorical one he needs.

Here are our top stories from Washington…

Obama says election will determine course of economy

President Obama cast his re-election battle with Mitt Romney as a clash between starkly contrasting philosophies and charged that his Republican rival would hollow out the middle class in a high-stakes speech that could set the tone for months of intense campaigning. Obama accused Romney of wanting to resurrect the Republican economic policies that preceded the 2008 crisis that plunged the United States into a recession from which it has not fully recovered.

For more of this story by Laura MacInnis, read here.


Obama acknowledges making gaffe with “fine” comment

President Obama acknowledged making a gaffe last week when he said the private sector was “doing fine,” a remark that created instant fodder for his Republican opponents who painted the Democratic incumbent as being out of touch.

For more of this story, read here.


Central banks ready to combat Greek market storm

Central banks from major economies stand ready to take steps to stabilize financial markets by providing liquidity and preventing a credit squeeze if the outcome of Greek elections on Sunday causes tumultuous trading, G20 officials said.

For more of this exclusive story by Stella Dawson and Lesley Wroughton, read here.


Data points to soft US economy, possible Fed action

New claims for U.S. state jobless benefits rose for the fifth time in six weeks and consumer prices fell in May, opening the door wider for the U.S. Federal Reserve to help an economy that shows signs of weakening. Though the data released showed only a small increase in claims last week, it undermined hopes that a recent slowdown in hiring would prove temporary.
For more of this story by Jason Lange, read here.


CME agrees to turn over MF Global property

CME Group Inc reached an agreement to return $175 million in MF Global Holdings Ltd property, a trustee in the bankruptcy of the failed brokerage said $130 million of which is earmarked for former customers of the firm. The settlement helps push the trustee closer to making whole customers who lost an estimated $1.6 billion after the company improperly mixed client funds with its own money. MF Global filed for bankruptcy last October.
For more of this story by Aruna Viswanatha and Nick Brown, read here.



U.S. high court: Never mind the 9. Meet the 36.

With a ruling expected soon in the landmark U.S. healthcare case, Supreme Court watchers have scoured the landscape for clues about how the nine justices will vote. But they left one stone unturned. Make that 36. That is the number of law clerks who serve the justices, do their research, help draft their opinions and exert a not insignificant influence on their thinking. But reviews of the clerks’ resumes, interviews with their former employers and colleagues – and yes, even their parents – shed light on their personalities and predilections and, in a few instances, their possible healthcare politics.


For more of this story by Terry Baynes, read here.


U.S. Senate panel OKs budget boosts for SEC, CFTC

U.S. Senate appropriators approved major funding boosts for the country’s financial market regulators, setting up a likely battle with Republicans who want to use the power of the purse to slow down the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms. The funding bill was approved along party lines, in a 16-14 vote.

For more of this story by Sarah N, Lynch, read here. 

Most say Bush to blame for weak U.S. economy, poll finds

About two-thirds of Americans believe Republican former President George W. Bush is responsible for the nation’s struggling economy, with a smaller percentage blaming Democratic President Obama, a Gallup poll showed.

For more of this story, read here.


CFTC may delay some derivatives rules for foreign banks

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission may delay by up to a year a requirement that large overseas banks active in the swaps market comply with costly new swaps rules, CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said. Gensler said the CFTC is considering allowing foreign dealers to phase in compliance with U.S. “entity level” rules, and may even get to simply comply with their home-country regulatory regime. Entity level rules include capital requirements, risk management, record-keeping and trade reporting.

For more of this story by Karen Brettell, read here. 


From elsewhere…


Florida governor mistaken for dead in 2006 vote

Florida’s governor, who is leading a disputed purge of voter registration rolls, had to cast a provisional ballot in 2006 because officials mistakenly thought he was dead, election officials said. Governor Rick Scott was required to use a provisional ballot in the 2006 primary and general elections because Collier County election officials had received a Social Security Death Index Death Record that led them to believe he had died on January 27, 2006.

For more of this story, read here.

For more stories from our Washington correspondents visit and stay informed.


Have a great evening.


Mary Milliken

Washington Bureau Chief


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  • About JoAnne

    "Night desk reporter in the Washington Bureau. Holds a Masters degree in Interactive Journalism and currently working on merging new media skills with old media experience. Prior to joining Reuters, worked in broadcasting at two other international wire services (which I won't name here). A perpetual piano student, and not very good, which is perfect for my secret ambition -- lounge piano player."
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