— We've written about how the less-than-stellar economy could become an issue in the presidential contest. Well, here's more troubling news. Does this subject come up at the debate? The New York Times: "The unemployment rate surged to 5 percent in December as the economy added a meager 18,000 jobs, the smallest monthly increase in four years, the Labor Department reported on Friday. Economists viewed the report as the most powerful indication to date that the United States could well be falling into a recessionary downturn. Evidence of widening unemployment heightened anticipation that the Federal Reserve would further cut interest rates this month, perhaps by an unusually large half a percentage point, in a bid to prevent the economy from sliding into the muck."