The Night Beat: Putting Lipstick on a Bad Jobs Number

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Good evening.

JOBS: The White House is girding itself for the release of June employment figures, which will show a relative paucity of private sector jobs created. In a way, the impact of this number has been blunted by expectation-setting and headlines that suggest the recovery might be fizzling. There will be a vigorous presidential response designed to show how engaged the president is. Reporters have been given a 12:01 a.m. embargo regarding its contents, but suffice it to say, it's a little like putting lipstick on a ... bad jobs number.

Bill Clinton says that Americans won't give President Obama and Democrats any credit for, well, anything until "they feel like winners." That's about as good a synopsis of the political environment as I've seen. Democrats can pass bills that are major, can claim that they're major, can posture as if they are major, can message as if they are major -- and ... nothing. The gauges seem to be stuck. Americans seem weary of the president's facilitating approach to the country, even as it has resulted in the type of compromise that has led to the passage of institution-changing legislation. 

NO DICE: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wanted his Afghanistan supplemental by July 4. He won't get it until the middle of July. He will not be happy.

CAN-WELL: HuffPost Hill first reported that Democrats have secured the vote of fellow Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell for their financial regulatory reform bill. Here's Cantwell's statement: 

I will vote in support of the conference report because it makes great strides toward our ultimate goal: bringing all standard derivatives onto exchanges and clearinghouses, with aggregate position limits and strong anti-manipulation tools. Since even before the financial crisis of fall 2008 I have been fighting to bring the $600 trillion derivatives market out of the dark, unregulated betting hall where it has existed and into the bright light of transparency and regulation. This legislation is not perfect, and I will continue to push for even bolder action.

DEFICIT, SCHMEFICIT: A majority of Democratic members of Congress surveyed by National Journal do not believe President Obama will fulfill his pledge of halving the deficit by 2013. More in tomorrow's National Journal.

Over the next week, about two million Americans who receive unemployment insurance will expect checks in the mail that will not will arrive because Congress hasn't, or won't, pass unemployment insurance. When the Senate returns from the Fourth of July break, it will pass an extension, but a large number of people will find themselves without the money they expected for a week or two. numbers

from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted June 17-21 among 1,000 adults by pollsters Peter Hart (a Democrat) and Bill McInturff (a Republican). Among the registered voters in the survey, Republicans led by 2 points on the generic congressional ballot test, 45 percent to 43 percent. This may not sound like a lot, given that Democrats now hold 59 percent of House seats. When this same poll was taken in June 2008, however, Democrats led by 19 points, 52 percent to 33 percent. That drop-off should be enough to sober Democrats up, but the next set of data was even more chilling. First, keep in mind that all registered voters don't vote even in presidential years, and that in midterm elections the turnout is about one-third less. In an attempt to ascertain who really is most likely to vote, pollsters asked registered voters, on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested they were in the November elections. Those who said either 9 or 10 added up to just over half of the registered voters, coming in at 51 percent."


LEITER SIDE: Video of Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter's rather candid discussion at the Aspen Security Forum can be found here. Interesting fact: Leiter was accosted by TSA workers returning to DC today from Denver International Airlines, according to a spy. The accosting was not harassment; Leiter was apparently recognized by these TSA workers, who crowded around him as if he were a celebrity in their world. Which he sort of is ...

AQAP MAGAZINE: The U.S. intelligence community believes that the English language Al Qaeda propaganda magazine, posted first here, is legitimate. They are intrigued by reports that a full 67-page version was posted on a Jidahi website for a short period of time ... apparently they've not yet seen it, or have not managed to collect it. Officials think I'm wearing a tinfoil hat for suggesting that U.S. cyber spooks might have sabotaged the magazine, but I think that theory is more plausible than others that try to account for the missing 64 pages.

RED ON RED: The National Rifle Association's new antagonist, Redstate's Erick Erickson, insists that the NRA plans to endorse Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada. (This was a week after Redstate insisted that the NRA had some secret deal with House Democrats to avoid criticism of Elena Kagan in exchange for an exemption from the DISCLOSE Act, a conspiracy theory that the NRA dispelled today by releasing a statement that said that Kagan belonged on no court.)  On the Reid front, an NRA spokesman would only say that endorsement decisions would be made at a later date.

THE NEW BUD LIGHT LIME: From Robert Draper's profile of Sen. Lindsey Graham in the New York Times magazine: "His culinary weaknesses tend toward Chick-fil-A, except when dieting, and sweetish alcoholic beverages like Baileys liqueur and (during our recent dinner) almond schnapps." Also, Graham isn't gay.

ROMNEY'S RELIGION: Did evangelicals vote against Mitt Romney in Iowa because he was a Mormon? Political journalists say yes; our evidence is mostly impressionistic. In the peer-reviewed Journal of Media and Religion, two Brigham Young University scholars found that 50 percent of religion coverage in the 2008 campaign focused on Romney and Mormonism, while 30 percent of Romney's coverage itself was about his membership in the Mormon Church. The full study costs $30 and is titled "Mitt Romney's Religion: A Five Factor Model for Analysis of Media Representation of Mormon Identity." : Charlie Cook's column, which will be published tomorrow morning, will include a look at

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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