8 a.m. ET: Two key tenets of President Obama's economic recovery plan have hit obstacles in recent days, as the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the sale of Chrysler to Fiat and high unemployment numbers cast doubt on the effectiveness so far of the administration's much-touted stimulus package.
Obama's continued promotion of the stimulus measure carries with it risk, as yesterday's events provided another opportunity for the media to cast a skeptical eye on the administration's claims. The Los Angeles Times writes that "so far the promised federal money has been slow in coming" and that the job creation numbers cited by the White House "appear to be elastic." More bluntly, some critics are calling the statistics "pure fiction." And others are pointing out that Obama seems to be recycling his material: Yesterday's Associated Press dispatch called the president's latest spending promises "summer reruns."
Amid all the bickering over statistics, here are two numbers that are not in dispute -- 9.4 and 42. The first is the unemployment rate as of May, which prompted Obama to say yesterday he was "not satisfied" with the pace of recovery so far, and forced the White House to defend "the overly optimistic economic models it used to justify the historic stimulus plan." The second is the percentage of respondents in the latest Gallup poll who disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy, up 12 points since February. Now, "Obama is under political pressure to show more immediate results," the Wall Street Journal writes, but a faster economic turnaround probably isn't within his power to create.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, meanwhile, surprised the Obama administration and other stakeholders by halting the Chrysler sale Monday. The Detroit Free Press says the delay "might be the equivalent of a television time-out in the last 30 seconds of a basketball game." SCOTUSblog writes "the action had almost no legal significance, and that Ginsburg could have done it for any number of reasons. The New York Times says the implications "are unclear," noting that the situation could be resolved as early as today. But if it isn't, the Supreme Court could decide to use this case to explore how much authority Obama really has -- or doesn't have -- to address the economic crisis and move hundreds of billions of dollars around without the specific assent of Congress.
Closer to Rundown world headquarters, all eyes today are on the Virginia gubernatorial primary. The three Democrats in contention are spending these final hours racing around the state to drum up support, and -- all together now -- turnout will be key. The Fix calls Creigh Deeds "the odds-on favorite" today, and the last polls of the contest give Deeds a double-digit lead.
On the Republican side, the fact that the NRSC-NRCC fundraising dinner happened last night means we can finally stop wondering whether Sarah Palin will show up. Headliner Newt Gingrich spoke for more than 45 minutes, almost as though he decided to give one speech for himself and another one for Palin. (Jon Voight, noted diplomatic expert, hosted the event and reportedly criticized Obama's foreign policy.) Though the Alaska governor did end up attending the dinner and everyone played nice, it's unlikely that Republican leaders drew it up this way: The confusion over Palin dominated coverage of the event, and her mere presence helped overshadow that of the headliner, Gingrich. Somewhere, Mitt Romney is smiling.
June 9, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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