April 4th, 2014
09:44 AM ET
6 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. rla

    Sure its over! The new normal has arrived– Part time jobs replcing full time, government subsadizing 40% of the population, reduced wealt in the middle class (which is rapidly disappearing under the democrats), a new social welfare democratic voting bloc and divisions along the line of england based on class– OPPPS all those rich1% democrats sure know how to extract money from the rest of us keep us on the plantation... God help us if anyone actually thinks this report coupled with the MASSIVE national (and growing) is good.... Especially since this is a low level gain of jobs and slower than any in history... CNN why do you persist in misleading America– Are you and your sytaf really that vapid?

    April 4, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    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.
    --------------------------------–
    Maybe. But, if a president comes in making dramatic changes in economic policies, then he deserves the credit or blame, which the case may be.

    Take Bush-43, for example. Some conservatives love to credit Bush for growing the economy by pointing to the revenue totals under his administration. Yet, they seemingly have Romnesia when it comes to the growing annuals that the were being rung up, year after year. They do not recall the increased spending, year after year. But, the ones that do remember blame it all on the Democrats, despite the fact that Republicans were running everything for at least six years straight.

    April 4, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. 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?

    April 4, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. 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.

    April 4, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. 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 to the bad handling of Katrina (I suspect the polar votex as well) he won't be getting credit for the uptick in the economy?

    What's up with THAT?

    But, hey, CNN. Thanks for catching up with what most Americans had already understood was GOPerville's mantra these past 6 years.

    Well, to be honest ... CNN's mantra as well.

    April 4, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Hector Slagg

    What long Winter? If there was/is any long winter it is of their own making. For the last 100 years they have been setting the policy. Are things going to get any better? I don't think so. But I could be wrong?????

    April 4, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Dean

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

    6.7% unemployment. That's nice. How many stopped looking for work?

    April 4, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. 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. Investigating. Now put your politic aside and lets have a independent group to do all the investigating and I am quite sure we shall all find out that both sides are crooks at about 80 percent. Or just TERM LIMITS, that will clean this mess up. Also every thing is not President Bush's fault. Get over it.

    April 4, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. rs

    Hector Slagg

    What long Winter? If there was/is any long winter it is of their own making. For the last 100 years they have been setting the policy. Are things going to get any better? I don't think so. But I could be wrong?????
    ________________________
    As usual, yes. Your team has done little more than bench-warm. Remember? They had all the answers in 2010. "Jobs, jobs, jobs". What did we get? A shutdown or two, anti-government rhetoric, insults to the Commander-in-Chief.

    The Republicans are stuck in neutral, and rollin' backwards. Sure, you can complain that a 6-figure jobs increase isn't enough- but compared to what the GOP is doing the Democrats look positively brilliant.

    April 4, 2014 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. much thunder...little rain

    how low the bar has drop the last 6 yrs...its like a d- is better than a f

    April 4, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. MaryM

    Just think how much further along this economic recovery would be if the republicans had not tried to sabotage and hold back and make our President a "one term President". And Americans are signing up for Obamacare. So again repubs, you are on the wrong side of History. History will record you republicans did every thing to try to hurt this President. And the majority of Americans know why!!

    April 4, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    -ria, be glad, at least you have a job, not killed in Iraq nor Afghanistan, while your Laden in Pakistan taking 30 billion dollars yearly.

    April 4, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. rs

    The GOP is such a funny thing. A party simply packed with fatal contradictions that will ensure it's ultimate demise:
    *Small government- but they want monitors in your bedrooms
    *Pro-life, well, its more like "spare the fetus, and starve the child (or the poor, or the elderly, or the veteran)"
    *Small budgets- but blow $24 billion in a tantrum over getting Americans affordable health care, or $60 million on Mr. Issa's "investigations", or about $75 million voting over and over to overturn the ACA
    *President is weak-President is dictator
    *President "leads from behind"-"President is out of control"
    *Liberty- except for women and their health and their doctors
    *Liberty- but no voting for the poor, minorities, and women

    Sure, we're going to hear from them just how bad off America is today- with a stock market 100% higher than in 2008; adding 200,000 jobs a month instead of losing 800,000 a month; ending two wars instead of starting wars; more people with health insurance, and the list goes on. They conveniently the disaster that was the Bush years.

    Their desire for darkness, lies, and deceit will doom the GOP. They are delusional in their echo-chamber thinking no one sees what they are saying or doing. Sorry boys, this is a good week for the President and America. The sad thing is that you're unhappy about it. Real Americans celebrate when things get better for America and Americans.

    April 4, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. not normal

    Come on CNN, somebody's going to give this credit, think of the redemption you could have. Plane not in ocean, yet.

    April 4, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. Winning

    I honestly cannot understand how any informed person can even think of voting for a republican right now. They haven't changed their policies one iota since the crash of 2008. Not one bit. If anything, they've taken that colossal failure as a sign that they need to become further invested in those policies. The obstruct everything. They oppose just for the sake of opposing. They have to go before they do damage to the country that is beyond repair.

    April 4, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. rs

    We had 6 years of job growth under President Bush and the unemployment rate was far less.
    ______________________
    More selective delusionalism. Yes, there was job growth over Bush's first 6 years, then the bottom fell out and under him we saw record 1929-style job losses of 500,000-800,000 per month. What that means my fried is that over all Bush and his Republican Party created ZERO jobs over the life of his Administration. A far, far worse record than Mr. Obama's.

    April 4, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "TERM LIMITS, that will clean this mess up."

    Term limits will just encourage more corruption. People who know they will only get one or two bites at the apple take bigger bites.

    April 4, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. smith

    I would say it has been a good week for the potus and dems. Jobs should be better next month, warmer weather is bringing alot of good seasonal work.

    April 4, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. 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?

    April 4, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Stuffitu

    Nice to see the failure of the Obama cartels laser like focus on jobs and the economy today.

    April 4, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Tom

    I think it's too early to declare victory on jobs. These numbers might just reflect a surge brought about by weak hiring during the harsh winter months. Certainly it's good news, but a sustained pattern over the next two quarters would be better. But, that said, I think bolsters the theory that something other than Obamacare might be the hot topic on voters' minds in November of 2014. Republicans seem to be betting everything on the notion that dissatisfaction over healthcare will drive the midterm election. If the economy is showing sustained signs of improvement, it would certainly help Democrats in November.

    April 4, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. Denise

    The economy is generally better under a Democratic president. The biggest load other than voodoo economics is the notion that Republicans are the party of smaller government. This isn't based in reality at all! The big dog handed a great economy on a silver platter to the USSC selected Dubya and look where he got us.....

    April 4, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Denise

    The economy would be even better if the poor red states stopped dragging everyone else down....

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

    April 4, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Marty, FL

    When comparing both parties, Dems offer far better policy than TGOP, especially considering Ryan's economic disaster of a budget taking from the poor & seniors again to give more tax cuts to the rich.

    Dems need to stand strong on their positions, including the positives of ACA. The majority of Americans support them, preferring improvements over TGOP "repeal."

    Vote the TGOP out 2014

    April 4, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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