Live Blog: Democratic National Convention 2012; Barack Obama, Joe Biden

Sep 6, 2012 6:32pm

A recap of Thursday, the third and final day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

‘Those waiting to be born” – 11:45 p.m. ET – At a convention where a good number of the speakers made a big deal about protecting abortion rights, the Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who included “those waiting to be born” in his benediction.

“Thus do we praise you for the gift of life.  Grant us to defend it.  Life, without which no other rights are secure.   We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected.”

Transcript: Obama’s Speech to the DNC

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Image credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

 Obama’s full speech – 11:52 p.m. ET


Instant analysis from the ABC team – 11:49 p.m. ET


As with all of his campaign rallies, Obama concludes to Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own.” – 11:18 p.m. ET – Mary Bruce notes

“Times have changed ans so have I”

“I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the president.”

The word hope – 11:05 p.m. ET – Karen Travers notices that in prepared remarks, the word “HOPE” is used 15 times.

Seeking Buy-in – 10:56 p.m ET – Obama tells supporters 2008 wasn’t about me, it was about you. And he says ‘you’ deserve credit for what he’s done on health care, immigration and foreign policy.

Obama’s heavy lift – 10:50 p.m. ET – From Rick Klein:

It’s an optimistic speech, and the policy part is definitely not the focus, though it’s in there.

It’s about lifting up – making the election about bigger things, making his supporters buy into a bit of what they did four years ago.

He’s rising above the process – he’s sick of approving that message.

He’s lifting up the choice – “It will be a choice between two different paths for America.”

He’s giving broad marching orders – “I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country.”

Palin – Not amused at Kerry barb – 10:40 p.m. ET – From Michael Falcone -

In an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto tonight Sarah Palin weighed in on Sen John Kerry referencing her in his speech tonight by pointing out she once said she could see Russia from Alaska:

“I think he diminished himself by even mentioning my name. How does he even know my name? I mean aren’t these guys supposed to be these big wig elites who don’t waste their time on the little people like me, me representing the average American who yeah I did say in Alaska you can see Russia from our land base and I was making the point that we are strategically located on the globe and when it comes to  transportation corridors and resources that are shared and fought over,  Alaska and I as the governor had known what I was doing in dealing with some international issues that had to do with our resources that could help secure the nation.  So it’s funny that he would take a little pot shot like that, but it’s funny he even knows my name.”

This was the line in Kerry’s speech where he mentioned Palin “Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; (laughter) Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.” (laughter)”

What’s the real Obama bumper sticker? It’s complicated – 10:34 p.m. ET – From Amy Walter:

Biden likes to say that their campaign slogan can fit on a bumper sticker: Obama is dead and GM is alive.

But, this defense of the Obama/Biden first term is a tough one to fit on a sticker. And, it’s not quite as inspiring as “Yes We Can”

“Yes, the work of recovery is not yet complete, but we are on our way.

“The journey of hope is not yet finished, but we are on our way.  The cause of change is not fully accomplished, but we are on our way.  So I say to you tonight, with absolute confidence,

“America’s best days are ahead of us, and, yes, we are on our way.”

No American flags on the convention floor – 10:30 p.m. ET – Because Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are on the arena floor there will be no American flags (with sticks) allowed on the arena floor or the first two rows in the stands.  Volunteers handing out flags are under the direction of the Secret Service to abide by this.

Obama walks onstage to U2 – “City of Blinding Lights” – 10:24 p.m. ET – And chants of Four more years! Thanks Michelle, Joe, Daugters. But says the girls do have to go to school tomorrow morning.

Transcript of Joe Biden’s speech


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Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

VP Biden railed against Romney backing a territorial tax system – 10:28 p.m. ET – Jake Tapper offers this:

But a number of advisers to the president support the idea as well – including members of the President’s Export Council, the commission the president set up to recommend ways to reduce the deficit, and members of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

In a letter to President Obama on December 9, 2010,the chairman of his Export Council, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, writing on behalf of the private-sector appointed members of the Council, called for a “competitive territorial tax system for the United States,” one that “should broadly follow the practice of our trading partners and should not be designed to raise new revenue, or to destabilize the U.S. corporate tax base, but rather to make the US tax system more competitive with its major trading partners.”

“The rest of the world increasingly uses territorial systems under which foreign earnings – taxed once in the foreign country – can be brought back for reinvestment in the domestic economy without incurring additional home country tax,” McNerney wrote, noting that of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, twenty-five use territorial systems, with the United Kingdom and Japan having adopted them in 2009.

You can read more about this in our blog from July.

Biden – 10:06 – “The only truly sacred obligation we have is to prepare those we send into war and care for them when we return.”

Biden’s Big Line – OBL is dead and GM is alive! – 9:59 p.m. ET – From Elizabeth Hartfield -

This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and a spine of steel  in his spine. And because of all the actions he took, because of the calls he made–and because of the grit and determination of American workers–and the unparalled bravery of our special forces–we can now proudly say what you’ve heard me say the last six months -

Osama Bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive

Hundreds locked out of arena before speeches – 10:23 p.m. ET – After the venue change, many Democrats were kept out of the festivities tonight because the venue was at capacity. More from Josh Haskell, who is locked out with them.

“We’re going to keep about 53 seats” - 9:49 p.m. ET – Sen. Chuck Schumer to Jon Karl about the coming election and the senate. “We’re doing so much better in places that people never imagined. Nevada, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana, Missouri. It’s going much better than we ever imagined.”


What Convention? – VMA’s outpace DNC in social space (not a shocker) – 9:41 p.m. – Here’s Twitter volume of the DNC conversation versus the VMA conversation, courtesy Yahoo! News’ Chris Wilson.

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Yahoo! News Signal Blog

More on the VMA’s from Julie Percha.

George Will on Bill Clinton’s ‘Fun’ Speech – 9:32 p.m. ET



House Arithmetic – Steve Israel says Americans have ‘buyer’s remorse’ over GOP house – GOP, meanwhile, is banking the country has buyers’ remorse over Obama.



Meet the Dems DJ. Apparently he did Beyonce’s wedding. Which was the bigger party?


John Kerry: “Ask Osama bin Laden if he’s better off than he was four years ago” – 8:48 p.m. ET – Confounding the perception that he’s a long-winded and boring speaker, the Massachusetts senator (who will play Mitt Romney in Barack Obama’s debate prep) delivers a stemwinder in the convention hall. It’s a speech loaded with one liners.

Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV

Mr. Romney—here’s a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!

“I’ll take the words of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.”

“It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position.”


Charlie Crist: Dems enlist a GOP turncoat – 9:08 p.m. ET – From Chris Good:

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was run out of the GOP in 2010 by Marco Rubio, who hammered him relentlessly for hugging Barack Obama when the president traveled to Florida to promote the stimulus. The photo was ubiquitous in their Senate primary.

Crist was a moderate GOP luminary before 2010. Andrea Saul, a top spokeswoman for Mitt Romney, was Crist’s press secretary in the 2010 campaign.

Tonight, Crist denounced the conservatism of the current GOP, recounted the hug, and praised Obama for his handling of the BP oil spill:

“I didn’t leave the Republican Party; it left me. Then again, as my friend Jeb Bush recently noted, Reagan himself would have been too moderate, too reasonable for today’s GOP.”

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan—just aren’t up to the task. They’re beholden to ‘my way or the highway’ bullies, indebted to billionaires who bankroll ads and allergic to the very idea of compromise.”

“One of his first trips in office brought him to Fort Myers, where I was proud to embrace him and his plan to keep our teachers, police and firefighters on the job. Well, that hug caused me more grief from my former party than you can ever imagine.”

“President Obama came to our rescue again, leading a massive cleanup effort and demanding accountability from those responsible. He didn’t see a red state or a blue state. He simply saw Americans who needed help.”

FWIW: The Republican Party of Florida pointed out today that Crist once ran a radio ad attacking ObamaCare.


Brian Schweitzer, packin’ heat and a bolo tie – 8:36 p.m. ET – From Elizabeth Hartfield:

In his address to the DNC, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer highlighted a part of Romney’s record you might not expect to hear Democrats hit a Republican on: increasing the fee for a gun license.

“And here’s the one that got a burr under my saddle: he quadrupled the fee for a gun license! Maybe that’s okay for a guy who hunts “varmints.” But for the rest of us, that dog don’t hunt.”

Note – Schweitzer is the second speaker in a bolo tie after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Jon Karl interviews James Taylor – 8:30 p.m. ET – On Obama, Taylor says – “As a shower singer, he’s a natural. And it doesn’t surprise me.”

“The Eva longoria who flipped burgers at Wendy’s needed a tax break. But the Eva longoria who works on movie sets does not” – 8:25 p.m. ET - Movie star and Obama campaign co-chair.

D is for Drive! R is for Reverse! – Jennifer Granholm wins pep award – 8:21 p.m. ET – Gesticulating and yelling, the former Michigan governor had the crowd on their feet and taking part in her speech. “When Mitt Romney said, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt,’ who took the wheel? Barack Obama!”


“Too often, he made it at the expense of middle-class Americans. Year after year, it was profit before people. President Obama? With the auto rescue, he saved more than one million middle-class jobs all across America. In Colorado, the auto rescue saved more than 9,800 jobs! In Virginia, more than 19,000 jobs! In North Carolina, more than 25,000! Wisconsin: more than 28,000 jobs! Pennsylvania: more than 34,000! Florida: more than 35,000! Ohio: more than 150,000! And in the great state of Michigan? President Obama helped save 211,000 good American jobs. All across America, autos are back! Manufacturing is rebounding! Why? Because when Mitt Romney said “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” who took the wheel? Barack Obama! When America was losing 750,000 jobs per month, who gave us a lift? Barack Obama!  When American markets broke down, who jump-started the engine? Barack Obama! And when America needed it most, who got us rolling again on the road to recovery? Barack Obama!”


The case for Obama? – Rev. Jesse Jackson on Obama’s ‘Significant Track Record’ – 8:05 p.m. ET – from ABC and Yahoo! News’ Live Stream -


Caroline Kennedy highlights Catholic faith – 8:03 p.m. ET – From Elizabeth Hartfield:

In her address Caroline Kennedy highlights her Catholic faith, saying “as a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously.” The catholic vote will be very important in November, and it’s a vote that is up for grabs. The fight has been highlighted recently as Paul Ryan has joined the ticket (Ryan is of Catholic faith, and he’s only the second Catholic ever nominated for a presidential ticket by Republicans.)

“As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously, and today, it is under attack. This year alone, more than a dozen states have passed more than 40 restrictions on women’s access to reproductive health care. That’s not the kind of future I want for my daughters or your daughters. Now isn’t the time to roll back the rights we were winning when my father was president. Now is the time to move this country forward.”

Gabby Giffords – I pledge allegiance… 8:00  p.m. ET – Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords leads an emotional crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

“@CoryBooker: Ok, now Gabby Giffords just made me cry. What a testimony to strength, resilience, perseverance and beauty!”

More from Greg Krieg.


Democrats: Fired Up – 7:48 p.m. ET – Cokie  Roberts says on the live stream “This is my 12th Democratic convention and I have never seen democrats behaving like this.” The party faithful, she says, seems ready to do what Obama wants.

Scarlett Johansson -


Awkward campaign moments of yore – 8:03 p.m. ET – Like Al Gore’s smile, Rudy Giuliani’s clapping, from Dan Kloeffler -


First taste of Obama’s speech – 6:27 p.m. ET – Per Jake Tapper – The president claims the mantle of FDR and says solving the problems of this country s going to take more than a few years:

“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.

“But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place.

More excerpts her

After speech, Obama heads to battlegrounds – 7:43 p.m. ET – Devin Dwyer reports Obama will head to New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, Nevada and Colorado in the week following the convention.

Obama campaign manager rejects venue switch – 7:39 p.m. ET – Sunlen Miller reports:

On stage tonight Obama campaign manager Jim Messina expressed regret that the more then 50,000 who originally held tickets to tonight’s event could not attend due to the move to the smaller indoor venue to avoid the bad weather.

“I was disappointed that we could not have the tens of thousands of people who planned to be with us tonight in the stadium,” Messina said, “but I am so happy that there are over five thousand watch parties happening all over America.”

On the large screen a four box showed a few watch parties organized across the country, similar to those happening in Charlotte as a way to make up for it.

“Hey, New Mexico, can you hear me?,” he said, “Alright, are you fired up?”

Many of the ticket holders were volunteers who had donated 9 hours of their time over three days to earn 1 ticket.

Obama Campaign Factoids- 7:12 p.m. ET – Meticulously maintained data from Devin Dwyer -

Total Estimated AF1 Domestic Flight Miles in 2012:   121,000
Total Bus Tours in 2012: 2
Overnights at Home in Chicago in 2012:  7
Visits to Chicago Campaign HQ: 2
Total Re-Election Fundraisers Attended in 2012:  139
Total Re-Election Fundraisers in First Term:  209  (record-breaking; compares to 86 for George W. Bush)
Top 4 Battleground States Visited in 2012:  Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Colorado
Most Visited State of 2012:  New York (fundraising!)
Total Campaign TV Ads:  57
Total TV Ads Mentioning Romney: 34

Campaign Visits:

Ohio and Virginia – 11 visits
New York – 9 visits (including fundraisers)
Florida and Colorado – 8 visits
Iowa – 7 visits
Nevada – 6 visits
New Hampshire and North Carolina – 3 visits
Pennsylvania – 2 visits


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Standing ovation for Iowa son of lesbian couple – 6:56 p.m. ET – From Elizabeth Hartfield – A huge response for Zach Wahls with this line in particular:

“Governor Romney says he’s against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine. Because the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones. It comes from the love that binds us; that’s what makes a family. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.”

Here’s video of the speech he gave to Iowa legislators that made him something of a cause celebre among advocates of same sex marriage:



Definitive guide to Bill Clinton’s epic ad-lib – 6:50 p.m. ET – Watch, follow along, and read how he changed in the moment

Joe Biden’s bumper sticker lives on the DNC floor – 6:30 p.m. ET – From Arlette Saenz:

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Twitter / Arlette Saenz


Mitt Romney vs. ‘Myth’ Romney – 5:42 p.m. ET – Barney Frank, retiring from Congress, assailed Mitt Romney’s record in Massachusetts by calling the former governor’s version of events there “myth’ Romney. Ha ha.

“This is a hard one for me because of my diction,” said Frank. “It turns out our governor was Mitt Romney, what we should have had was Myth Romney”


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Image Credit: Rick Rowell / ABC News

Diane Sawyer Interviews Michelle Obama for World News – 4:20 p.m. ET – Greg Krieg writes:

As some Democrats waver over whether the country is “better off today than four years ago,” first lady Michelle Obama told ABC ”World News” anchor Diane Sawyer her answer is yes, and that Americans “are growing to understand just how much we’ve accomplished.”

The first lady pointed to the end of the war in Iraq, a planned departure from Afghanistan, and an economy “on the brink of collapse,” that’s “now consistently creating jobs.”

“Our grandparents can afford their medicine,” she said.  “Our kids can stay on our health care until they’re 26 years old. I could go on and on and on.”

Democrats would like nothing more. Michelle Obama is, with former President Bill Clinton, among the party’s most popular figures. She also may be the president’s most powerful campaign surrogate.

“I didn’t think it was possible,” she said during her convention speech Tuesday night, “but, today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago, even more than I did 23 years ago.”



John Lewis moves some to tears telling of Civil Rights apology  – 6:11 p.m. ET – It looks like some delegates have been moved to tears by the speech of civil rights activist and Georgia Rep. John Lewis A particularly poignant passage of his speech came after Lewis told the story of a time he was beating by an angry mob in Rock Hill South Carolina in 1961: “A few years ago, a man from Rock Hill, inspired by President Obama’s election, decided to come forward. He came to my office in Washington and said, “I am one of the people who beat you. I want to apologize. Will you forgive me?” I said, “I accept your apology.” He started crying. He gave me a hug. I hugged him back, and we both started crying. This man and I don’t want to go back; we want to move forward.”

Here’s a GMA segment on that reunion:




Biggest moments of the DNC… so far – Click here

Obama regrets ‘syntax’ of ‘you didn’t build that’Devin Dwyer reports:

President Obama says he regrets the “syntax” of his “you didn’t build that” remark at a July campaign rally in Virginia that has since become a rallying cry for Republicans.

“Obviously, I have regrets for my syntax,” Obama told Norfolk, Va., TV affiliate WWBT in an interview that aired Wednesday. “But not for the point, because everyone who was there watching knows exactly what I was saying.”

The president was making his case for higher taxes on wealthier Americans to fund greater government investments in education and infrastructure to boost the middle class.

Obama’s 2 other convention speeches – 4:00 p.m. ET – This is Barack Obama’s third address to a DNC. Julie Percha has the last two:

As President Obama takes the stage tonight to accept his party’s nomination in Charlotte, he’ll make his pitch as an embattled president in a virtually neck-and-neck race for a second term. Here’s a look at Obama’s evolution on the convention speech stage, from up-and-comer in 2004  to inspiring nominee in 2008 — and now, to a president arguing he needs more time to fix the economy and didn’t betray his promise of change in his first term.

When he took the stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Barack Obama was a first-time U.S. Senate candidate who was largely unknown outside his home state of Illinois. He delivered the keynote address on the second night of the convention, spellbinding attendees with a message of unity and spurring speculation of a potential presidential bid, himself: Watch them here.

What to expect tonight? An argument and a look ‘forward’ – 6:03 p.m. ET – From Devin Dwyer and Mary Bruce:

The president plans to use the moment to “savor” his first term accomplishments, he told supporters in an email this week. Political strategists said he’ll need to present a compelling case for how the country is better off four years on.

Only 31 percent of Americans believe the country is on the “right track,” according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. Sixty-seven percent say it’s on the “wrong path.”

… On the economy, voters give Romney a slight edge when asked who would do a better job, 46 percent to Obama’s 44 percent, in the same ABC/Post poll.

While Obama has outlined a broad economic vision for the country — an approach that emphasizes higher taxes on wealthier Americans to fund greater investments in education and infrastructure — he has offered scant detail about if and when the recovery will proceed more quickly and create millions of new jobs. He is asking voters to trust that the status quo will be the better path.

Their full scene setter.

Or, as Russell Goldman puts it – “Obama to sell status quo, not change.”

Gov. Bev Purdue: Obama Will Win North Carolina – 7:00 p.m. ET – North Carolina governor says Romney’s current lead in state is insignificant. Hmmm.


Democrats’ Dilemma and What Obama Needs to Do – 6:19 p.m. ET – Amy Walter’s analysis:

Most Americans would agree with the spirit of President Clinton’s “we are in this together” philosophy. They help their neighbors. They volunteer at their churches and schools. They want to see a society where everyone gets an equal opportunity to succeed.

…If Obama couldn’t deliver his promise to change Washington, it is tough to convince voters that re-electing him will ensure that he can now make Washington work for them.

The challenge for Obama isn’t convincing Americans that government is important. It is convincing them that government is competent.

Kennedys: The Next Generation  – 3:30 p.m. ET – ABC’s Jonathan Karl interviewed Ted Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Kennedy stopped by. They compared Obama’s race against Mitt Romney to their father’s in 1994. Take a look:


Cory Booker hints a guv run – 3:16 p.m. ET – Arlette Saenz reports:

Addressing the LGBT caucus meeting in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday afternoon, Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., hinted at a potential run for governor, telling the gathering he hopes to “have a very good seat” when marriage equality is achieved in the Garden State.

“I’m telling you right now, it’s not a matter of if we’re going to win marriage equality in New Jersey, it’s a matter of when we’re going to win it,” Booker said. “And I know in my heart of hearts, if God is willing, I will be there on that day that bill is signed. I might even have a very good seat when it gets done.”

The last ‘jobs Friday’ before voters start voting – 3:08 p.m. ET – Elizabeth Hartfield reports:

Election Day isn’t until Nov. 6,  which gives Democrats and Republicans three more monthly jobs reports to anticipate, right?

Not exactly.  Although job numbers for August, September and  October will be released before Election Day, August’s jobs report, which comes out Friday,  is the last one before general election voting begins, thanks to early voting.

Between Friday’s jobs report and September’s, which comes out Oct. 5, several key swing states, including Iowa, Ohio and Virginia, will have already started to vote through early and in-person absentee ballots. And while historically speaking,  the majority of votes are not cast  early  in these states, a sizable percentage (although less than half) of the voting population still gets to the polls before Election Day. In 2008, 30 percent of the total votes cast in Ohio came in early. In Iowa, it was 36 percent, and in Virginia, 14 percent.

By the time October’s jobs report is released Nov. 2, much of the vote could have already been cast in additional swing states, such as Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin and North Carolina, where President Obama will  accept his party’s nomination tonight.

With polling showing Romney and Obama in a virtual dead heat, these early votes in key swing states could make a difference.

Steelworker featured at DNC didn’t work at Bain -  12:32 p.m. ET – ABC’s Jon Karl reports:

The Democratic National Convention on Wednesday featured three speakers billed as “former employees of companies controlled by Bain Capital.”

They each told compelling stories about jobs lost, allegedly because of the actions of Bain under Romney’s leadership.

But it turns out one of those employees never actually worked for a company controlled by Bain Capital.
David Foster was supposedly one of those former employees on the convention schedule. He told the story about 750 steelworkers who lost their jobs when the Bain-controlled company GST steel filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s.

“In 2001, with GST bankrupt and Romney still CEO of Bain, I stood in front of hundreds of steelworkers in their 50s and 60s, and retirees in their 70s and 80s, and told them Romney and Bain had broken their promises. Jobs, vacation pay, severance, health insurance and pension benefits that were promised — they were all gone,” he said. Read his full speech here

Instead, Foster was a union organizer representing workers who did work there.

More on GST steel and a new Romney pushback about that company is in Jon’s post.

REWIND – A fact-check of Bill Clinton and Elizabeth WarrenFrom ABC’s Greg Krieg:

Example: Bill Clinton: ‘So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4.5 million, congressional Republicans: zero.’

In January 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 106.8 million Americans in paid jobs. In July of this year, the figure came in at 111.3 million. That’s a gain of 4.5 million. The problem: President Obama was sworn in to office in January 2009. On his first day in office, the private payroll count stood at 111 million. So if Obama is to take full responsibility for all his time in office, his administration has only created a net of 300,000 jobs.

The more realistic number probably falls somewhere in between.

The rest is here.

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