Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Down but not out

November 5, 2010

How the Democrats could have done with those numbers a week ago, or more precisely how they could have done with three or four months of numbers like that. The U.S. economy created a net 151,000 jobs in October, hiring hitting its fastest pace in six months. It is a sign that the economy is regaining momentum after a desperately sluggish summer, and might have lifted President Barack Obama’s mood a little too as he makes the long trip to India. USA/

They were subjected to some bitter attacks from their opponents, and even had their detractors within their two parties. Both suffered cruel defeats this week, but if you thought you had seen the back of Nancy Pelosi and Christine O’Donnell, think again. The Republican from Delaware, who ended her remarkably upbeat concession speech with an invocation to have a “party”, has already announced she is pursuing a book deal and will still be fighting against the Democrats. Shades of Sarah Palin perhaps.

Pelosi, meanwhile, says she now wants her old job back, that of House Minority leader. Defeated or not, who would bet against her?

Obama, O’Donnell, and Pelosi – down, but definitely not out

Here are our top stories from Washington today…

Obama heads to Asia, hopes to deliver on jobs

The president received some encouraging news just before he left Washington: The government reported faster-than-expected payroll growth, although the unemployment rate remained steady at 9.6 percent. Obama called for “putting politics aside” in brief remarks at the White House. “We can’t spend the next two years mired in gridlock. Other countries like China aren’t standing still so we can’t stand still either. We’ve got to move forward,” Obama said.

For more of this story by Patricia Zengerle, read here.

For more on Obama’s comments to Republicans, by Matt Spetalnick, read here.

Bush considered attack on Syria – book

Former President George W. Bush says he considered ordering a U.S. military strike against a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Israel’s request in 2007 but ultimately opted against it. Israel eventually destroyed the facility, which Syria denied was aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability.

For the latest in Steve Holland’s series of stories about Bush’s memoir “Decision Points”, click here.

 

Speaker Pelosi runs for House minority leader

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi ended speculation that she may quietly step aside after her Democrats lost midterm elections, announcing she will run for minority leader in the new Republican-led chamber next year.

 

For the story by Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cowan, click here. For Tabassum Zakaria’s blog, click here.

 

Jump in U.S. hiring lifts spirits on economy

Employment surged much more than expected last month as private companies hired workers at the fastest pace since April, a sign the sluggish economy is finally starting to tick up. Analysts said the data was not strong enough to knock the Fed off its new policy course, but it tempered speculation the central bank might have to step up its bond buying. “The report confirms the economy is regaining momentum and provides an encouraging signal of business confidence,” one analyst said.

For more of this story by Lucia Mutikani, read here.

Global anger swells at U.S. Fed actions

Global anger at a fresh round of liquidity injections swelled as Germany called the move “clueless” and emerging nations protested that it will wreak havoc. Criticism poured in as President Obama left on a trip he had hoped to use as a springboard for pressuring China to revalue its yuan but may end up in a fractious Group of 20 leaders summit next week. The Federal Reserve’s decision to buy $600 billion in long-term bonds with new money has increased fears of more money pouring across borders in search of better returns.

For more of this story by Glenn Somerville and Zhou Xin, read here.

Obama’s signal, elections tilt Bush-era tax debate

President Obama’s new willingness to work with Republicans on tax policy boosts the chances tax rates will not rise for any American, including the wealthiest, come January. The White House said the president is open to talks with Republicans about extending all of the lower tax rates enacted under former President George W. Bush, after arguing fervently for months the country could not afford the rates.

For a Q&A on the current state of play, by Kim Dixon, read here.

Demoralized U.S. Democrats ponder the future

Demoralized Democrats face an uncertain future after bruising election losses, and the soul-searching and finger-pointing have begun. But many cautioned the election did not mark a fundamental shift toward Republicans, and warned against overreacting. “This was a protest election. People are angry about economic performance, angry about the president’s failure to get the economy going,” said Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg. “Those suggesting this election represents an ideological shift are simply wrong.”

For more of this story by John Whitesides, read here.

U.S. closer to liquid market rule after ‘flash crash’

At a meeting to discuss the May “flash crash” that sent the Dow Jones industrial average into a brief 700-point freefall, SEC chief Mary Schapiro and other regulators were zeroing in on new rules to prevent another uncontrollable market plunge. The brief market crash rattled investors already unhinged by the financial crisis.

For more of this story by Christopher Doering and Rachelle Younglai, read here.

US election results to limit Internet regulation

The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives will mean fewer regulations for technology and telecommunications companies and a tough road ahead for the FCC. “It’s probably going to make it much less likely that there’s going to be heavy regulation,” said one analyst.

For more of this analysis by Jasmin Melvin, read here.

What we are blogging…
 
Christine O’Donnell is not going away

Christine O’Donnell may have lost her Senate race, but she’s not exiting the spotlight. In fact, she’s sounding a bit like Sarah Palin. The Tea Party darling of Delaware cheerfully tells the Today show she’s pursuing a book deal. She likes being in documentaries. And she’s going to fight tooth and nail against whatever Democrats try to pull during the upcoming lameduck session (how isn’t quite clear). “We created a platform and we’ve been able to get a lot of issues out there. And I’d like to continue to do that at least for the short term.”

For David Morgan’s full post, read here.

From elsewhere…

S.Africa census workers tote clipboards and condoms

Statistics South Africa, which is managing the census, said supplying condoms to all government employees is a standard policy to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country with one of the world’s highest infection rates. “We are not saying that people should have sex on the job” said a spokesman for the agency.”Should people decide to engage in sexual activity, they should do it safely.”

For more of this story, read here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama makes remarks about employment report from Roosevelt Room of White House)

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