Washington Extra – One more for the road

June 14, 2011

Jon Huntsman is in. Well, technically, the Republican announced that he will announce that he is in next Tuesday.

“I intend to announce that I will be a candidate for the presidency a week from today,” the former U.S. ambassador to China said at a Thomson Reuters event in New York.

He advocated “getting our own house in order” to improve ties with China. “As we have a very weak economic core, we are less able to project the goodness and the power and the might of the United States,” Huntsman said.

“We sit diminished and discounted at the negotiating table and everybody knows that. So if you want a strong U.S.-China relationship, I would argue that we probably have a little bit of work here in our own backyard,” the ex-Utah governor said.

China, the largest foreign creditor holding more than $1 trillion in Treasury debt as of March, has expressed concern that the U.S. might default on its debt due to politics.

In Washington, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke issued a stark warning that failure to lift the debt ceiling risked a loss of confidence in America’s creditworthiness and might damage the dollar’s reserve currency status.

Republicans have so far appeared immune to the “sky is falling” scenario, and all eyes are on Vice President Joe Biden to see if he can maneuver a deal.

Here are our top stories from Washington…

Bernanke, Obama warn as lawmakers meet on budget

The chairman of the Federal Reserve warned that a failure to lift the government’s borrowing limit could risk a potentially disastrous loss of confidence, giving further impetus to the latest round of deficit-reduction talks by top lawmakers. Ben Bernanke said the United States could lose its coveted AAA credit rating and the dollar’s special status as a reserve currency could be damaged if there was not a quick resolution to the battle over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

For more of this story by Andy Sullivan, read here.

Republican Huntsman to announce White House run

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman will announce his bid for the White House next Tuesday, bringing a moderate Republican and expert on America’s fastest growing competitor into the race to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012. “I intend to announce that I will be a candidate for the presidency a week from today,” Huntsman, former U.S. ambassador to China, said at an event hosted by Thomson Reuters.

For more of this story by Jeff Mason, read here.

Obama 2012 – it’s all about jobs

If President Barack Obama wants to convince Americans he can right the struggling economy and deserves four more years in office, he needs to come up — quickly — with a convincing plan to generate jobs. Recent disappointing economic data has raised fears of a double-dip recession, particularly a weaker-than-expected unemployment rate of 9.1 percent in May. And with polls showing voters are deeply concerned, Republicans vying for their party’s nomination have been hammering the incumbent on the issue.

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

Consumers spend less, recovery seen on horizon

Consumers have not pulled back aggressively despite the recent slowdown in the economy, retail sales data showed, and falling gasoline prices should support growth in the months ahead. Retail sales fell in May for the first time in 11 months as auto sales took a hit from the damage wrought by Japan’s earthquake and other spending softened too.

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

Obama returns to Puerto Rico, courting Hispanic vote

Barack Obama paid Puerto Rico its first official presidential visit in 50 years, courting an important slice of Hispanic voters on the mainland who could help his re-election chances in 2012. At an arrival ceremony in an aircraft hanger, Obama expressed support for an eventual decision by Puerto Ricans on the U.S. island territory’s status and said his administration was working to strengthen its recession-battered economy.

For more of this story by Alister Bull, read here.

China urged to help in Senate counterfeit probe

The Senate Armed Services Committee urged China to allow investigators to travel to the Chinese mainland to probe reports that Chinese-made counterfeit parts are making their way into U.S. weapons systems and other electronics. So far, China has declined to grant visas to committee staff investigators.

For more of this story by Jim Wolf, read here.

From elsewhere…

Exclusive: Hacking blitz drives cyberinsurance demand

The recent string of sensational hacker attacks is driving companies to seek “cyberinsurance” worth hundreds of millions of dollars, even though many policies can still leave them exposed to claims. Companies are having to enhance not just their information technology practices but also their human resources and employee training functions just to get adequate coverage against intrusion — and in some cases, they are also accepting deductibles in the tens of millions of dollars.

For more of this story, read here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid (Jon Huntsman at Thomson Reuters event in New York)

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