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First Thoughts: A September to remember

A September to remember: It’s shaping up to be a busy – and significant – month in American politics… The new jobs numbers: No net jobs created in August, and the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 9.1%… Palin’s three options this weekend… How does the Tea Party receive Romney?... Bachmann compares herself to Reagan and Thatcher… Calendar watch: We could know what Arizona plans to do as soon as today… Romney and Cain are in FL, while Huntsman remains in NH… NBC’s David Gregory chats with the Teamsters’ James Hoffa… And have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

*** A September to remember: With the August beach days and vacation travel now behind us, September is shaping up to be a busy -- and significant -- month in American politics. It will feature major economic speeches (by President Obama, Mitt Romney, and House Speaker Boehner), Congress’ return, three GOP presidential debates, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and more Sarah Palin speculation. Below is a helpful clip-and-save calendar of what to expect for the remainder of the month:  

AP

Sept. 3: Palin attends Tea Party rally in Indianola, IA
Sept. 4
: Romney attends Tea Party rally in Concord, NH
Sept. 5
: Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, and Romney attend Jim DeMint forum in Columbia, SC.
Sept. 5
: Palin speaks at Tea Party rally in Manchester, NH
Sept. 6
: NBC/WSJ poll is released
Sept. 6
: Romney unveils his jobs/economic plan in Nevada
Sept. 7
: NBC-Politico debate takes place at Reagan Library at 8:00 pm ET
Sept. 8
: Obama delivers his jobs/economic address to a joint session of Congress
Sept. 8
: The “Super Committee” is likely to hold its first full meeting, per NBC’s Libby Leist
Sept. 11
: 10th anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks
Sept. 12
: CNN-Tea Party Express debate takes place in Tampa, FL
Sept. 13
: Special congressional elections take place in NV-2 and NY-9
Sept. 14
: Perry speaks at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA
Sept. 15
: Boehner delivers his own jobs/economic speech in DC
Sept. 22
: FOX-FL GOP debate takes place in Orlando
Sept. 23
: CPAC confab (featuring the GOP presidential candidates) takes place in Florida
Sept. 23
: Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference takes place
Sept. 24
: Florida GOP holds its “Presidency 5” straw poll
Sept. 28
: Bachmann speaks at Liberty University
Sept. 30
: 3rd fundraising quarter ends

AP

An estimated 4,000 people wait to enter a job fair in south Los Angeles on August 31, 2011.

*** No net jobs in August; unemployment rates stays at 9.1%: And today brings us another significant political story this month: the new job numbers. And ouch… Per the AP, “Employers added no net workers last month and the unemployment rate was unchanged, a sign that many were nervous the U.S. economy is at risk of slipping into another recession. The Labor Department says total payrolls were unchanged in August, the weakest report in almost a year. It's the first time since February 1945 that the government has reported a net job change of zero. The unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent.”

*** Inside the West Wing: Don't miss the Roger Simon column in Politico today with the anonymous aide to the president complaining publicly about the president's treatment by Speaker Boehner. There's A LOT of intrigue among some Obama supporters who are wondering who it is that decided to go on record (even on background) to send a public message to Boehner -- and to the president's upset base that he caved. Not everyone is interested in re-litigating the Wednesday calendar chaos. The handwringing among many of Obama's DC-based supporters (call it the establishment if you will) is not happy with how things look, not just with the president but with how the town is being run. These next few weeks are critical for the president and his staff not to lose confidence either in each other or with key leaders in the Beltway.

AP

*** Palin’s three options this weekend: Palin’s events in Iowa on Saturday and New Hampshire on Monday are important for her. The reason: The 2012 race is passing her by. She has three options this Labor Day weekend. One, she announces she’s getting ready for a presidential run (like opening a testing the waters committee). Two, she endorses another presidential candidate (Rick Perry maybe?). Or three, she keeps on with the status quo -- flirting with a presidential bid but not jumping in. The problem for her with the status quo is that it minimizes her impact on the 2012 race. It will be harder for her to receive attention if she doesn’t suggest what her intentions are this weekend.

*** How does the Tea Party receive Romney? Here’s another thing we’ll be watching this weekend: What kind of reception does Romney receive at the Tea Party event in New Hampshire (on Sunday) and the DeMint forum in South Carolina (on Monday). We already know that FreedomWorks -- which has never been a fan of Romney’s -- will be protesting his appearance in New Hampshire.

AP

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann.

*** Bachmann compares herself to Thatcher and Reagan: At the American Legion convention in Minnesota yesterday, Bachmann said this, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "It took two very strong leaders on the stage, one a woman and one a man, to reverse the course of their respective counties," she said. "We find ourselves today in search of another Margaret Thatcher to restore our great country to the thriving nation I believe we can be again." Asked later about her comparison, Bachmann replied, "Both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher contributed mightily to restoring the economic and military greatness of the nation during their respective time periods. We're in a similar time period, and we need to have strong, viable leadership to see that return again today -- both with our military and our economy.  They're both tremendous examples."

*** Calendar watch: As soon as today, we could know what Arizona plans to do with the GOP primary. If it holds its primary on Jan. 31 -- as expected -- that would force Iowa, New Hampshire, and the other early states to move up from February to January. That would have two possible reactions: One, you’ll probably have six significant early contests in January -- IA, NH, NV, SC, AZ, and FL. And two, with those February contests moving to January, that means there’s the possibility that February becomes a dead zone. So you’ll have these flurry of early contests in January, but then a relatively empty February before the Super Tuesday races in March.

**** On the 2012 trail: Cain and Romney today address the Republican National Hispanic Assembly in Tampa, FL… Romney also opens his Florida campaign headquarters in Tampa… And Huntsman makes another campaign stop in New Hampshire.

*** Thursday’s “Daily Rundown” line-up: National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Moody Analytics’ Chief Economist Mark Zandi on today’s jobs report… The Economist’s Greg Ip and National Journal’s Jim Tankersley on the economic outlook and September’s dueling job speeches… One of us (!!!) on how busy September will be… NBC’s Jamie Novogrod on Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)’s history on history… Plus more 2012 with Comcast’s Robert Traynham, Tribune’s Matea Gold and the Wall Street Journal’s Carol Lee.

*** Sunday’s Meet the Press: On Sunday, NBC’s David Gregory will hold a special discussion on the economy. In his weekly “Press Pass,” Gregory talked with Teamsters head James Hoffa.

*** A final note: Your morning First Read note will return on Tuesday, Sept. 6 – chock full of information on the NBC-Politico debate, as well as our upcoming NBC/WSJ poll. Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.

Countdown to NBC-Politico debate at Reagan Library: 5 days
Countdown to NV-2 and NY-9 special elections: 11 days
Countdown to Election Day 2011: 67 days
Countdown to the Iowa caucuses: 157 days
* Note: When the IA caucuses take place depends on whether other states move up

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