TPM News

On the cusp of America's celebration of labor's place in American life, the Labor Department released its monthly review of employment statistics to relatively optimistic reactions from the White House and the media, despite the fact that 54,000 fewer Americans had jobs at the end of August than did in July.

The cause for all the celebration is that the 54,000 net new unemployed Americans were mostly Census workers who expected to be unemployed by September, so the overall increase in unemployment wasn't really that bad. But, a deeper look at the numbers belies the rosy rhetoric.

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Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott is up with a new ad linking Democrat Alex Sink to President Obama, just as the Republican Governors Association is reportedly transferring $2 million to the Florida Republican Party to help Scott attack his Dem opponent.

The new ad shows footage of Obama urging Florida voters to back Sink, before knocking "liberal Alex Sink" for supporting the president's "government takeover of health care" and "trillion dollar stimulus bill."

Scott ran an extremely negative (and successful) campaign against Republican establishment choice Bill McCollum in the primary, and clearly isn't pulling any punches heading into the general election.

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Remember the birther infomercial, produced by, that asked viewers for $30 for a "got a birth certificate?" bumper sticker?

The man behind it, Bill Keller, is now railing against the Islamic center planned for lower Manhattan. He says he'll be holding Sunday services from a room at the Marriott across from Ground Zero every weekend until he can find a permanent spot for his "9/11 Christian Center."

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There were no details on the White House's forthcoming jobs package in President Obama's Rose Garden address this morning. Instead, he'll promised to announce them just before Congress returns.

"I will be addressing a broader package of ideas next week," Obama said.

One of the few questions he answered came from a reporter who asked whether he regretted branding the past several weeks as "Recovery Summer."

"I don't regret the notion that we are moving forward because of the steps that we've taken," Obama said.

When news came out this week that three members of Congress had been referred to the House ethics committee for further investigation into possible ethics violations because of fundraisers they held ahead of a vote on financial reform, observers were surprised that the Office of Congressional Ethics based the decision on the appearance of impropriety rather than solid evidence that anything was done wrong.

But according to House ethics guidelines, looks do matter.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Nevada Senate race gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a narrow lead over Republican nominee Sharron Angle.

The initial numbers show the two tied at 45%-45%. After undecided voters were pushed with a follow-up question, 50%-47% including the leaners -- an unusual instance of undecideds breaking to the incumbent, though the difference is within the margin of error. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error.

In the previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago, Reid and Angle were tied 47%-47% on the initial question, with Angle taking an edge of 50%-48% with leaners included.

The TPM Poll Average currently puts Reid ahead by 47.6%-44.3%.

Via the New York Times this morning, BP is using its voluntary funding of several programs -- $100 million for unemployed rig workers, $500 million for research, $90 million for Gulf Coast tourism -- as a bargaining chip to try to get lawmakers to back down from punitive legislation.

BP has agreed to voluntarily fund a slew of programs related to Gulf restoration beyond its legal obligations, and state and federal officials are pushing for more. But the company is warning that proposed legislation that would limit its Gulf oil production would also limit its generosity.

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After watching the economy swing toward recovery then sputter then grind to a halt, the Obama administration is reportedly -- finally -- drafting a new legislative proposal meant to spur job growth, two months before the midterm elections in November. None dare call it stimulus, but the package, according to The Washington Post, will be designed to appeal to Republicans. It could include a payroll-tax holiday and an extension of the recently expired research-and-development tax credit, and could cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

The reaction on the Hill hasn't really materialized yet -- members are still away on recess, and the proposal hasn't been widely circulated. But the prospect of tax cuts must have Republicans giddy with anticipation, right? Maybe.

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White House Considers Pre-Midterm Business Tax Breaks Package The Washington Post reports: "With just two months until the November elections, the White House is seriously weighing a package of business tax breaks - potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars - to spur hiring and combat Republican charges that Democratic tax policies hurt small businesses, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations. Among the options under consideration are a temporary payroll-tax holiday and a permanent extension of the now-expired research-and-development tax credit, which rewards companies that conduct research into new technologies within the United States."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver a statement to the press at 10 a.m. ET, on the monthly jobs numbers. He will depart from the White House at 1:30 p.m. ET, en route to Camp David.

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Here's how it was supposed to go: Republican Rick Lazio wins the gubernatorial nod at New York's state party convention and rides it all the way to a general election trouncing at the hands of Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Carl Paladino had other plans. The Tea Party-lovin', racist email-sending, welfare-recipients-to-prisons-proposing millionaire who collected enough signatures to force a primary with Lazio September 14, could just snatch the party nomination out of Lazio's mosque-hating grasp.

A Qunnipiac poll this week shows Paladino trailing by 12 points. But Lazio's lead of 47-35 has shrunk since the last Quinnipiac poll, at the end of July, when Lazio led 39-23. A Siena poll from mid-August also shows Lazio's lead shrinking, from 40-20 in Siena's mid-July poll to 43-30 by August.

The TPM Poll Average finds Lazio leading Paladino 46.3%-34.8%. Check out the trend lines. Lazio still has a double-digit lead, of course, but Paladino has been closing the gap.

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