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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.