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It's about contraception, not religion

02/09/12 03:03PM

Critics of the Obama administration's policy on contraception coverage are eager, if not desperate, to put a faith-based spin on their condemnations. "This is not a women's rights issue," Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said yesterday. "This is a religious liberty issue."As a political matter, it's easy to understand the motivation for the misleading spin. For one thing, modern birth control is popular, and Obama's detractors don't want to be seen as out of touch. read more

Challenge: Name the food stamp president

Challenge: Name the food stamp president

02/09/12 01:19PM

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) went right after Newt Gingrich yesterday for calling President Obama the "food stamp president." Gutierrez ran through a series of charts about food stamps, which his office kindly sent over today.Your challenge: Guess which president owns the first chart, about the increase in people who get food stamps, and which president owns the second one, about the rising cost of the program. read more

Thursday's campaign round-up

02/09/12 12:01PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:* Though Rick Santorum appears to be more impressed with his fundraising than he should be, his campaign now claims to have raised $1 million in the past 24 hours.* On a related note, Santorum and his newly-filled coffers will contest the upcoming Republican primary in Michigan, where Mitt Romney, a Michigan native, is generally expected to do quite well.* Romney, meanwhile, hopes to lock down a win in Maine, and his campaign has bought cable air read more

The economy is improving, but Congress can make things worse.

Congress can still 'muck' things up

02/09/12 10:51AM

Late last week, after we'd learned the economy created nearly a quarter of a million jobs in January, President Obama delivered a not-so-subtle message to Congress: "Don't muck it up."This was not a stray thought from the president. Economic conditions appear to be improving, but Americans have seen encouraging data before, only to have the strength of the recovery falter. read more

The right keeps targeting the Girl Scouts

The right keeps targeting the Girl Scouts

02/09/12 10:00AM

Conservatives' antipathy towards the Girl Scouts has generally been found on the fringes. In 1994, for example, James Dobson's Focus on the Family published a memorable attack on the Girl Scouts, insisting the group "lost their way" after the Scouts made a religious oath optional for membership. read more

Public revulsion towards Congress increases

Public revulsion towards Congress increases

02/09/12 09:24AM

President Obama's approval rating, like the national economy, has steadily improved recently. Those on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue aren't nearly as fortunate.A record-low 10% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, down from 13% in January and the previous low of 11%, recorded in December 2011. Eighty-six percent disapprove of Congress, tying the record high for disapproval set in December. read more

Jobless claims continue to improve

Jobless claims continue to improve

02/09/12 08:39AM

The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, though there have been setbacks, and most analysts expected this morning's report to show an uptick in filings.The good news is, that didn't happen. The better news is, initial jobless claims have reached one of the lowest levels we've seen in four years.U.S. jobless claims fell by 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 358,000 in the week ended Feb. 4, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had estimated claims would rise to 370,000. read more

The company CPAC keeps

The company CPAC keeps

02/09/12 08:00AM

As Rachel noted last night, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get underway in Washington today, and will feature a cavalcade of Republican leaders and prominent far-right voices. read more

Morning Maddow: February 9

02/09/12 07:57AM

Same-sex marriage passes in Washington state.The Pentagon moves women closer to combat today.How bad the jobs picture really is for young people.CPAC runs into trouble with those pesky co-sponsorships again.A little background on the War on Birth Control.10 states will be freed from No Child Left Behind today. read more

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