The Obama admin is “considering a range of new measures to boost economic growth” including “tax cuts” and a “new nationwide infrastructure program.” The WH economic team has “met frequently in recent days to list ways to bolster the struggling recovery.” On the list of possible actions: additional tax cuts for small businesses, possible payroll tax cuts for business and individuals. Efforts to boost growth “have taken on urgency” as the economy has shown signs of flagging and is among voters’ chief concerns (Solomon/Weisman, Washington Post, 9/1).
Washington Post’s Gerson writes, “This is a president who has lost control of his public message” on the economy. “It wanders unleashed from park to alley, stopping to sniff every cable news story along the way. Some blame a political and communications team that is reactive and undisciplined. But there is another possibility. Perhaps the president doesn’t talk about job creation because he doesn’t have much to say” (9/1).
VP Biden, on the politics of the economy: “Our overwhelming focus is to make sure we continue the tax cuts for the middle class. And we provide additional tax cuts for small businesses that actually hire people. That’s what we hope when the congress comes back in session. The Republicans will stop filibustering the tax cut for small businesses and the senate for small business. … We hope the Republicans will begin to join us. Pete Sessions, the Congressman who is in charge of the reelection efforts in the House, said that ‘when we take control, if we take control, we’re going to go back to the same, exact agenda we had before.’ That’s the agenda that drove us into a deep recession. That is no answer. The answer is to do what we’ve done in Iraq, begin to cooperate. And provide for the incentives for small businesses. Cut taxes for the middle class. And continue to try to stimulate the economy” (“Good Morning America,” ABC, 9/1)
Three Big Chess Pieces
Obama is “attempting a triple play this week” that has eluded his predecessors for the past two decades: Israeli-Palestinian peace, Iraq and Iran — “in hopes of creating a virtuous cycle in a region prone to downward spirals.” History “shouts” that “all the odds are agianst him.” But WH officials “eager to show concrete progress on the hardest foreign policy challengers” contend Obama “has changed the political climate in all three arenas and has the best shot in years at creating positive and interlocking results.” Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: “There are three big chess pieces here, and in each of those places we are now poised for success. Victory begets victory, and success will be reinforcing” (Sanger, New York Times, 9/1).
New York Times’ Friedman writes, “Obama is embarking on something I’ve never seen before — taking on two Missions Impossible at the same time…The guy’s got audacity. I’ll provide the hope. But kids, don’t try this at home.” Obama, Hillary Clinton, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and the newly elected leaders of Iraq “need to now raise their games to a whole new level to seize this moment” — or “their opponents will” (8/31).
The President That Never Sleeps
Obama is “stepping up his fundraising” for Dems holding an event in New York City 9/22 to raise money for the DSCC and DCCC. For $15.2K donor will be allowed to attend the dinner and get a “presidential photo reception” (Bresnahan, Politico, 9/1).
Raising The Red Flag
The Obama admin “formally challenged” a court order barring the federal gov’t from funding embryonic stem cell research. DoJ spokesperson Tracy Schmaler: “The government is seeking a stay of the court’s injunction to prevent the irreparable harm and financial harm that could occur if these lifesaving research projects are forced to abruptly shut down. The great potential for significant additional medical breakthroughs is at risk if this research is halted pending the appeals process” (Stein, Washington Post, 9/1).
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"FBI Director Chris Wray will change his chief of staff in the coming weeks, multiple sources told CNN Tuesday. James Rybicki, who served Wray's predecessor, James Comey, in the same role, will soon leave, the sources said. Zachary Harmon, a white-collar lawyer, will take on the role." Rybicki played a "role in crafting a statement that exonerated Hillary Clinton in her email server investigation." In related news, the Washington Post reports that "Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia who is acting head of the Justice Department’s national security division, has been selected to be the FBI’s next general counsel."
"Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans. ... The president’s legal team hopes to provide Trump’s testimony in a hybrid form — answering some questions in a face-to-face interview and others in a written statement."