Malaise: This week, the Commerce Department announced that the U.S. economy grew just 1.8% in the first quarter of this year. The same report also found that inflation rose to 3.8%. Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate stands at 8.8% and the Labor Department announced this week that weekly jobless claims increased by 25,000 to 429,000, the highest number since January. Wal-Mart’s CEO told CNN Wednesday the retail giant’s core shoppers are “running out of money.”
And many of those shoppers are telling pollsters that they have no faith in President Obama. A Marist Poll released yesterday found that 40% of registered voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. Nearly six in ten, 57%, say they disapprove. The numbers are even worse among independents, only 34% of whom approve of Obama on the economy. The numbers at the state level are just as bad. In Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Obama in 2012, a Quinnipiac poll found that Obama’s approval rating has sunk to 42%, an all time low for the state. A record 53% disapprove.
Dems losing debt limit fight: The Washington Post reports today: “A growing number of Democrats are threatening to defy the White House over the national debt, joining Republican calls for deficit cuts as a requirement for consenting to lift the country’s borrowing limit.” WaPo identifies Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Mark Udall (Colo.) as dissenters. On the FY2012 front, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has matched Majority Leader Harry Reid’s promise to bring the Ryan budget to a vote on the Senate floor, with a promise to get a vote on the Obama budget too: “Since there is no Democrat budget in the Senate, we’ll give our colleagues an opportunity to stand with the President in failing to address the problems facing our nation while calling for trillions in new spending, massive new debt and higher taxes on American energy, families and small businesses across the country.”
Astrofail: USA Today exposes the fraud that is activist-organized protest at Republican town halls this recess. Their story opens with Paul Ryan calling on a man in the front row before recognizing him, “You changed clothes!” USA Today reports that the man had been at a separate event six hours earlier. Politico reports that “Citizens Action of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Labor Council have enlisted a traveling band of seniors to follow Paul Ryan’s every move.” But the leftist activists have been unable to match genuine support for Ryan. The Weekly Standard‘s John McCormack posts video of constituents giving Ryan a standing ovation after a town hall near Milwaukee.
2012 round up: A Newt Gingrich spokesman says he is unlikely to participate in the May 5th South Carolina GOP debate … In The Corner, Tim Pawlenty hits Obama over the NLRB’s Boeing suit … RealClearPolitics examines The Campaign Waiting for Mitch Daniels