A mixed bag on the jobs report. … Obama tries to wrest control of the domestic politics of the oil spill. … Women could lead the way in the West for the GOP, something the white-male dominant party desperately needs. … More resume problems for both candidates in Illinois. … DGA goes after Kasich’s Lehman ties. … And First Read’s Top 10 Governors Takeovers.
*** Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: The U.S. economy today gained 431,000 jobs in May, the largest increase in a decade -- since March 2000. Unemployment edged down to 9.7%. But there is a BIG but... 95% of the jobs created (411,000) this month were Census hirings. The private sector gained just 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April. This is a big disappointment for those in the administration and on Wall Street; officials and analysts privately expected somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 private-sector jobs on top of the Census hirings, translating to, perhaps, 80% of the jobs created this month as Census. Without more private sector growth this summer, it could mean some rough NEGATIVE job months once the Census hires disappear. This is a case where the headline is good for the White House, but once you dig deeper, this was not the best jobs report they could have hoped for (or thought they were going to get).
*** The Big Not Easy: With the oil spill still not yet contained, President Obama officially postponed his Indonesia-Australia trip for the second time (something that seemed telegraphed by the White House earlier this week). Today, the president travels back to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, where he’ll meet with not just elected officials but others directly impacted by the spill. Last night in an interview with Larry King at the White House, Obama expressed some of his frustration, saying he is “furious at [the] entire situation,” but he added, "I would love to just spend a lot of my time venting and yelling at people," the president told Larry King in an interview at the White House. "But that's not the job I was hired to do. My job is to solve this problem. And ultimately this isn't about me and how angry I am."
*** The right chord: Yet as one of us said on Nightly News last night, even supporters believe he has yet to strike the right chord. Here was Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers: "I think what he's failed to do is to create a sense that he is emotionally invested, that he really, to use a former president's term feels people's pain." And ex-White House hand for both parties, David Gergen: “He doesn't want to be trapped in the Rose Garden in effect the way Jimmy Carter was by the hostage crisis. ... He has to be seen as in command. And he is not yet seen that way.” We’re going to see a more visible Obama on the issue. He’s always been the White House’s best messenger, whether it was on health care or the stimulus. And on Tuesday, Matt Lauer will interview him on TODAY. Of course what the president needs more than anything: for one of these attempts by BP to stop or control the leak to actually work.
*** Go West, young woman: As we think about the coming elections on Tuesday, it strikes us that if Republicans hope to once again win in the West, it could be, in large part, because of women. In California, the leading GOP candidates for governor (Meg Whitman) and senate (Carly Fiorina) are women. In Nevada, so are two of the leading candidates (Sharron Angle and Sue Lowden) for Senate. Beyond that, look at New Mexico, where Susana Martinez won the GOP bid Tuesday for governor; Colorado, where Jane Norton is the national Republicans’ preferred pick for the Senate; and in Arizona, where Jan Brewer, who was appointed after Janet Napolitano became Homeland Security Secretary, will be running for election. Now, this isn’t to say all of them will win in a general election. And some, like Norton, face difficult primaries. But if the Republicans make gains out West, it'll be thanks to women candidates; something the white-male dominant party desperately needs.
*** Resume fail: In Illinois, one embellishment deserves another and another. Mark Kirk admits to more errors on his resume, and the conservative Weekly Standard finds -- and the Kirk campaign passes around -- an inaccuracy on Alexi Giannoulias' own official campaign biography that claims, Giannoulias "founded and chairs the AG Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that donates money to treat child-related illnesses, curb poverty and assist disaster relief organizations.” The Weekly Standard writes: "The problem is, the charity no longer exists. According to the AG Foundation’s tax return, 'The organization was in existence only for the two-year period from 2005 to 2006.'" Chairs, chaired. In, during. This is clearly not as serious as Kirk's military service award claim, but it takes SOME steam out of Giannoulias' momentum this week -- and knocks him off his soapbox. It’s a reminder in politics there are no qualifications for any major office, really, other than age and citizenship…
*** Going after Kasich’s Lehman ties: The Democratic Governors Association is going up statewide this morning with an ad hitting John Kasich (R) in the Ohio governors race over his ties to Lehman Brothers, Wall Street and bonuses. The ad is through its Building a Stronger Ohio independent expenditure arm, which it has poured $1.5 million into. It’s the second ad the DGA’s aired in the state, as Gov. Ted Strickland is vying to be reelected in what polls show to be a tight race. Clearly, Democrats believe Kasich is vulnerable now, so they are seeing if they can fatally wound him this summer before the fall campaign starts.
*** First Read's Top 10 Governors Takeovers: That brings us to our Friday list, and if it’s Friday on First Read, it’s time for another Top 10. Today, a follow up on the top takeover opportunities in the governor’s races. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, because of struggling state economies where Democrats were in control, this is shaping up to be a great year for Republican candidates. And that’s important with the Census coming out and redistricting, which happens at the state level. Our top five, by the way, are all like 1 seeds.
1. Wyoming (1): When Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) said he wouldn’t challenge the term limits law in the state, it pinned this to the top of the board for Republicans
2. Kansas (2): There’s nothing to suggest that Sen. Sam Brownback won’t be the next governor of the state.
3. Tennessee (4): Phil Bredesen (D) is also term limited. Whoever wins the GOP primary will be the favorite.
4. Oklahoma (5): Another term-limited Democratic governor in Brad Henry.
5. Hawaii (3): Linda Lingle (R) is term-limited; Retired Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) is the favorite. It’s the Dems’ best pickup opportunity.
6. Michigan (6): Democrats are very pessimistic about holding onto this state, which has the highest unemployment in the country.
7. Iowa (9): The primary is Tuesday. We haven’t seen a poll with incumbent Chet Culver not down by double-digits. But Terry Branstad has been running ads touting his conservative credibility, which is probably not something he wanted to do, but he has primary challengers from the right.
8. Pennsylvania (8): Ed Rendell, also term-limited. Tom Corbett seems like the favorite over Dan Onorato, but we’ll see if he gives him a run in this state that has trended left.
9. Connecticut (unranked): Retirement of M. Jodi Rell (R) gives Democrats a good chance.
10. Minnesota (unranked): Tim Pawlenty is retiring. The race hasn’t shaken out yet (the primary isn’t until Sept. 14), but Democrats are hoping to pick up this seat, which, believe it or not, has been since 1986 since Democrats have won this governorship.
In our next Top 10 on governors, we may look at the most competitive races, because there is just a slew all across the country from Florida to California, from Maine to Wisconsin and everywhere in between.
*** The rest of the day: At 9:30 am ET, President Obama will tour a truck dealership in Hyattsville, MD. He will make remarks afterward. He also welcomes Major League Soccer champion Real Salt Lake to the White House. … First Lady Michelle Obama holds an event about nutrition in schools on the White House South Lawn at 12:30 pm ET. … Defense Secretary Gates is in Singapore and will hold bilaterals with officials from Indonesia, New Zealand, India, Vietnam, and Korea. … Attorney General Holder keynotes a Civil Rights Luncheon at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's 30th anniversary convention at 12:30 pm ET.
*** More midterms: Artur Davis is done with politics. … The NRA endorsed McCain. … Whitman has spent $500,000 a day… Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Palin endorses Branstad in Iowa. … Rossi’s good fundraising week and a primary opponent dropped out.
Countdown to CA, IA, ME, NJ, ND, SC, SD, and VA primaries, and AR run-off: 4 days
Countdown to Election Day 2010: 151 days
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