Tales from the Trail

Unemployment falls, what’s the proper political response?

February 5, 2010

OBAMA/The unemployment rate fell in January to 9.7 percent, the lowest in five months and below that dreaded 10 percent in December. It also foiled analyst expectations for an increase to 10.1 percent.

So a jump-for-joy event in Washington right?

Well, not quite.

The White House publicly decided on a cool, measured response.

(We have to believe someone over there must have let out a cheer, or maybe even clapped, at 8:30 a.m.)

The official response from White House economic adviser Christina Romer was a caution that there would likely be “bumps in the road ahead” and that it was important not to read too much into one monthly report. UNEMPLOYMENT/

(Probably a wise path since those who are unemployed are likely not feeling heartened by a government statistics report)

Republicans, who have been hammering on President Barack Obama about the economy and everything else, also weren’t showing any sighs of relief over the latest jobs report.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele decided there was no silver lining to this cloud.

“The resiliency of the American economy given its current challenges is incredible but later today President Obama plans to travel to Maryland to tout his binge spending agenda that will kill, not create, jobs,” Steele said in a statement.

Even some positive news on unemployment is not enough to bridge the partisan divide that is likely to widen as the November election closes in.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (snow covers White House grounds Feb. 3),  Reuters/Robert Galbraith (jobs center in San Francisco)

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