April 4th, 2014
09:44 AM ET
9 months ago

Inside Politics: Is Democrats' long winter over?

Winter over for Democrats? The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7% in March, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday morning. The figure is just shy of expectations for 200,000 jobs to be created. The idea had been that the warming weather will help kick-start the job market, and Democrats hope that with it will come a sunnier outlook for them, too.

The cold and snow, punctuated by the Polar Vortex, had kept earlier 2014 reports below expectations.

The control that presidents have over the economy is generally overstated. But it’s a harsh truth of politics that they unfairly take the blame when things go bad and unfairly get credit when things go well. President Obama, with his low approval rating and with Democrats’ bleak prospects heading into the 2014 midterm elections this fall, will take any kind of credit he can get.

Pair the decent jobs numbers with the news this week that Obamacare - once thought to be on life support - reached (and even exceeded a tiny bit) it’s original goal of enrolling 7 million people in private insurance, and that makes a pretty good week for the President and his party.

Related: Jobs are recovering, but...

“Good week” might overstate things. The consensus on Inside Politics this morning was that with Democrats still fighting to maintain their majority in the Senate, this week might just be “less bad.”

Here’s more evidence: A poll from The Washington Post and ABC News this week showed that support for the health care law has ticked up a bit. That poll marked 49% support for the health law, higher than most other recent polling. We’ll wait to see if other polls follow suit before the increased support seems real.

Hillary’s high-five: Sitting next to International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, a panel moderator pointed out that he could be sitting with the future President of the European Union and the future President of the United States. That led to a sidelines-style high-five between the two esteemed politicians.

Taking some credit for Iran: But it wasn’t all rah-rah for Clinton on Thursday as she addressed the “Women in the World Forum.” She also took a little bit of credit for the high-profile Iran nuclear talks that John Kerry, her successor as secretary of state, has carried forward.

Clinton has been back and forth about how to view the first high-profile diplomatic talks between Iran and the U.S. since the 1970s.

In mid-March, Clinton warned that Iran couldn’t be trusted and that expectations for the talks shouldn’t be too high.

At the time, she said she was “personally skeptical that Iranians would be able to follow through and deliver.”

Related: Hillary Clinton casts doubt on Iran talks

But on Thursday, she indicated she wants some credit for making these talks happen. Clinton told New York Times columnist Tom Friedman that she dedicated a chapter of her forthcoming memoir to laying the groundwork for the talks.

“It took an enormous amount of effort on the part of a lot of us to put that” in motion, she said, per Politico.

Asked by Friedman whether there is a double standard for powerful women, Clinton quickly said yes.

“The double standard is alive and well, and I think in many respects the media is the principal propagator of its persistence.”

Here are some more good weekend conversation topics:

George W. Bush Paints Putin: CNN’s Kevin Bohn reports from Dallas: “As former President George W. Bush unveils his paintings for the first time publicly, he said he expects some of the world leaders who were his artistic subjects to be surprised at the quality. ‘I think they're going to be (like), Wow, George Bush is a painter,’ " Bush told NBC's "Today" show in an interview set to air Friday. "I'm sure when they heard I was painting, (they said), 'Wow, I look forward to seeing a stick figure he painted of me.' "

Among those he painted were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama. More than two dozen never-before-seen portraits by Bush will go on public display Saturday at his presidential library in Dallas, in an exhibit titled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy.” The exhibit, which will also include photographs and artifacts, will explore Bush’s relationships with world leaders while in office.

Related: George W. Bush to unveil paintings

Funny Video: Sen. Dan Coats said he went to the right room, but the wrong hearing was going on. That led to a good candidate for C-SPAN’s blooper reel as Coats apologized to a Treasury Department official for asking him a question about defense spending.

Coats later joked on Twitter that the Russians must be sabotaging his schedule.

Sick little girl makes Washington trade political funding for cancer research: As of today, taxpayers will give $126 million to pediatric cancer research that would otherwise have gone to political conventions.

If you watch a lot of CNN, you probably met a young girl - Gabriella Miller - who Dana Bash profiled last year.

She died late last year, but Gabriella caused this very small, but very real bit of change in Washington.

Watch that story here. Read it here.

Boehner buys ad time: For the first time in four years, House Speaker John Boehner has bought TV ad time as part of his re-election campaign. He faces multiple primary challenges, although he isn’t thought to be in electoral danger. But even shoring up support is a sign that Boehner has registered frustration with his leadership among the rank and file and among tea party groups that feel he hasn’t done enough to force spending cuts and oppose the accumulation of American debt.

"With no significant statewide primary to mobilize and engage voters in Ohio, we're stepping up and doing our part to build a strong foundation for victory up and down the ticket in November," campaign spokesman Cory Firtz told CNN’s Paul Steinhauser.

Georgia Democrat features George H.W. Bush in campaign ad: It’s tough running as a Democrat in a red state. That means Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, isn’t featuring President Obama in her campaign ad. Instead, she’s got a photo of herself with former president George H.W. Bush. She led his Points of Light foundation for a time.

Related: Democrat Nunn features George H.W. Bush in campaign ad

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. wendell

    job numbers up, 7 million people with health coverage. Great news but of course this administration will get no credit. Working on increase to the minimum wage and immigration reform. Again no credit. But if we vote the republican clowns out and replace them with people who want to help the American people we can move forward faster. Lets work together to improve the lives of ordinary citizens and show the world how great we are.

    April 4, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. rs

    Stuffitu

    Nice to see the failure of the Obama cartels laser like focus on jobs and the economy today.
    ___________________
    You well know that nothing can happen without Congress- and our do-nothing Republican friends would rather keep on obstructing than working.

    April 4, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. not normal

    Plane landed at deigo Garcia, then?

    April 4, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. rs

    emskadittle

    so the President has brought us almost out of the hole that Bush created despite republicans efforts to make him fail and they want us to vote for them again?
    __________________________
    I think their meme is "Vote for us, we could have made the situation much worse".

    April 4, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Hector Slagg

    Um, Well,
    rs,
    The democrats had the congress for 40 years. So why are things no better today? The unemployment rate began to deteriate after the democrats took congress the last 2 years of the Bush Admin. It was the housing mess, given to us by liberal democrats, that decided everybody and his brother could take out a mortgage with nothing down and reduced payments for a time. Since the money never came back to the banks as was supposed to do the economy nearly collapsed, thanks to liberal policies, by the liberals. Lehman Bros lost 600 billion alone. God gawd, open your eyes! No president, even Obama, who is as clueless as they come, uh, sorry, would do what the liberals did. Obama Care answers that. But keep buying that snake oil. As P.T. Barnum said, There is a sucker born every minute. The last 100 years proves that beyond any shadow of doubt.

    April 4, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Hector – After reading your post, I agree, as long as there is Fox, there will be suckers. Brilliant display of lack of facts on your part.

    April 4, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Dean

    192,000 jobs added. That's nice. How many jobs lost?

    6.7% unemployment. That's nice. How many stopped looking for work?
    ----------------------------–
    How many jobs lost? We had a net gain of 192,000.

    How many stopped looking for work? Better question. How many stopped reporting to unemployment offices because they no longer collect UI benefits?

    April 4, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. sonny chapman

    Who was POTUS between 2007-08 ? Who was POTUS on 9-11-01 ? Do I see a pattern ? Sorry, I didn't mean to embolden the "enemy" of discourage our Troops.

    April 4, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. sonny chapman

    P.S.-who was Commander In Chief when Bin Laden(ahh, who cares) slipped into Pakistan at Tora Bora in 2001 & why wasn't Rummy fired then instead of the day after 2004 Election?

    April 4, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Anything positive that has occurred in the last 5 years, 48 consecutive months of job growth, market doubled, ACA, ending two republican wars, saving the auto industry, cutting the republican deficit, cash for clunkers, equal pay, increasing federal minimum wage, etc., and all that without a single republican vote.

    April 4, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    ireuel

    The chart is funny, it makes it look like a huge rises, look at the real numbers on the right. Rudy you are so selective in your responses. Just like this exaggerated chart above. We had 6 years of job growth under President Bush and the unemployment rate was far less. The Democrats took back both houses of Congress in 2007 and did the same the republicans are now.
    ---------------------------------
    The Bush administration saw a net zero jobs growth. We saw economic growth, mostly in the financial sectors. But when all was said and done, we had zero jobs growth under Bush. The early years of the Bush administration saw an explosion in spending and the number of government jobs by 25%. You have to read between the lines in order to see it because the total number of government jobs seems to remain constant, which in fact it does. What's not included in that total number are the contractors and privatized jobs.

    That explosion in jobs growth also hid the number of manufacturing jobs that were being lost during the Bush administration. We saw 50,000 manufacturing sites close, with a loss of 8 million jobs. Around half of the losses occurring during the Great Recession, and may never come back because most relflect bankrupt businesses.

    April 4, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Dead Bear

    Am I the only one who finds it strange that Bush painted Putin???... I think it's time for the GOP to get over their Vladimir man-crush. I know you Republicans just love how he stands up to Obama but the constant undermining of this administration's foreign policy does have a negative effect on our country's standing in the world.

    April 4, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. rla

    Cooked number– part time jobs, phoney unemployment (see u6), massive failure of health care, foreign policy in disarray, joe biden as VP What more could we ask

    April 4, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. Bill from GA

    Rudy NYC – " Take Bush-43, for example."

    Two of the measures W used (with help from the Fed) were unsustainable tax cuts and getting the interest rate to near zero. Both were meant to be short-term, or at least sold as such. Now they are the new normal.

    April 4, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Silence DoGood

    GOP taunt sequence – repeat until most voters get tired of it:
    ha ha ACA! – But ACA is working now to get uninsured and cut-off sick folks covered
    um, ha ha IRS – But hearings revealed all many political groups targeted
    um, ha ha Ecomony – But that is turning around after the Bush disaster
    um, ha ha, um – And Bush's military adventurism has been reversed.
    um, um, B-B-B-Benghazi! – OK I am voting liberal progressive.

    April 4, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Denise

    This administration will most certainly get credit in the final poll, also known as general election.

    April 4, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. Dems in PA

    Lip Stick on a PIG; add in the chronic unemployed (the real unemployment number) to their count an get the TRUE unemployment percent that the Democratic Party is responsible for creating since 2008.

    Oh and then there is the Democratic war on women; the number of women who were unemployed in the United States climbed by 180,000 in March

    April 4, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Me

    Sniffit

    Note how carefully CNN crafted the chart to leave it unmarked and hard to discern that the rapid descent started and reached full steam before Obama even took office and nadir (low point) was reached very early in his first year of office....and only stopped and reversed into a positive direction while Obama was in office (and after the Stimulus and other measures he and the Dems pushed were enacted). Gotta make it as confusing and non-informative as possible for them, eh CNN?
    ______________
    Dude you contradict yourself daily, you complaint about how bad the stimulus from Bush was and how it bailed out the Banks and auto industry yet Obama does the SAME thing and he did good! IF the stimulus helped it would not help that fast, so it must have been Bush's stimulus that helped the economy right?? LMFAO How do you keep all your lies and deceptions straight?? And to be clear I don't think EITHER stimulus should have been pasted but then again I don't care about party only about what is good for America!!

    April 4, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Me

    Sniffit

    "The new normal has arrived– Part time jobs replcing full time...."

    Cute. Of course, that entirely ignores the fact that every single trend you mentioned started under Dubya and was a result of his and the GOP's policies, but that's fine. You go ahead and swaddle yourself in the comfort of willful ignorance and confirmation bias. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
    _______________________
    Proof please, even YOU know this is a lie!!

    April 4, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Me

    Lynda/Minnesota

    "But it’s a harsh truth of politics that they unfairly take the blame when things go bad and unfairly get credit when things go well."

    Oh, dear. While this president has been faulted for everything from the 2007 recession
    __________________________
    I have not ONCE (and I read the ticker daily) seen someone blame Obama for the recession happening they only blame him (and fittingly) for NOT bringing us out of it!! Yet another lie from the gang on here!

    April 4, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. The REAL Truth...

    err, well.. umm..
    Hector Slagg –

    The unemployment rate began to deteriorate after 6 yrs of Republican fiscal policies.. you know.. the 2 wars, freefall spending, doubling the national debt, vulture capitalism (jobs to china, etc) and the housing bubble bust. The bust while contributed to by prior Dem policy was wholly caused by GS and its subsidiaries marketing things like ninja loans and hiding them in repackaged CDO's, selling them as AAA, then hedging against their success (since they already knew the outcome. That was dutifully followed up after the collapse by the too-big-too-fail TARP bailout, initiated by none other than the SecTreas (co-incidentally former CEO of said GS) .. sigh.
    Perhaps you should OPEN your eyes and stop slurping the coolaid. PT was absolutely correct.. but you can rectify that debilitation by doing some independent research and becoming informed.

    April 4, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Denise-Sorry to burst your bubble but CA, NY, and IL are blue states and they are all in massive debt. Red, Blue, Purple, and etc all have their problems. What`s with state warfare anyway? Most states shift back and forth.
    ----------------------–
    You're sorry to burst her bubble? Those states are not in the red. California is running at a surplus. Google it. New York is doing well because of Wall Street's success. If you have any questions about state warfare, take it up with Rick Perry.

    April 4, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Gurgyl

    -–people with pre-existing condition by insurance is a failure, covering millions under insurance is a failure, killing laden a failure, adding jobs to 192,000 a failure, putting sanctions with EU a failure–looting treasury to two Wars, trickle-down tax evasion not a failure. See psychiatrist. God bless!!!!

    April 4, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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