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Paul Krugman:

Mr. Romney claims that Mr. Obama has been a job destroyer, while he was a job-creating businessman. For example, he told Fox News: “This is a president who lost more jobs during his tenure than any president since Hoover. This is two million jobs that he lost as president.” He went on to declare, of his time at the private equity firm Bain Capital, “I’m very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs.” But his claims about the Obama record border on dishonesty, and his claims about his own record are well across that border. [...]

Well, Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post got an answer from the Romney campaign. It’s the sum of job gains at three companies that Mr. Romney “helped to start or grow”: Staples, The Sports Authority and Domino’s.

Mr. Kessler immediately pointed out two problems with this tally. It’s “based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain,” and it “does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved.” Either problem, by itself, makes nonsense of the whole claim.

The Baltimore Sun:

President Barack Obama owes congressional Republicans at least a thank-you card for their efforts to block Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That GOP leaders continue to howl over Mr. Obama's decision on Wednesday to elevate Mr. Cordray to the post as a recess appointment shows theirs is the gift that keeps on giving.

Only in the Bizarro World that is Washington these days is the fight over the Cordray appointment understandable. Republicans claim to be holding it up because they want to see the 18-month-old consumer watchdog agency reorganized (that is, weakened). And since they haven't got the votes to do that in a forthright manner, they'll settle for gumming up the appointment process which, in turn, denies the agency legal standing to do much of its job.

The Los Angeles Times:

Obama's move is an escalation of a separation-of-powers battle that dates back at least three decades, and has gradually intensified to the point at which individual senators now hold up nominees to routine executive branch posts in order to extract concessions on other issues.

That's the bottom line in Cordray's case. Senate Republicans have said they don't object to Cordray leading the new bureau. Instead, they want to force the White House to agree to subject the bureau to congressional budgeting and greater oversight by other banking regulators. Those are legislative disputes, not personnel matters.

The legal questions raised by Cordray's appointment could ultimately upend any rules the new bureau may adopt for payday lenders and others outside the banking system. So while Obama's tactic plays well with Democrats, it may not help the people the bureau was designed to protect. Nevertheless, Republicans can't complain about Obama resorting to extremes when the Senate so dramatically contorts the notion of "advice and consent."

Ben Adler:

Political reporters and pundits — especially conservatives — often fail to appreciate the distinction between political strategy and substantive policy. That's why so many conservative media outlets falsely asserted that President Obama was planning to "abandon the working class" when they got wind of a Center for American Progress report laying out how Obama could win re-election without winning the white working class vote.

Now Rick Santorum is talking about economic opportunity and the importance of manufacturing jobs, so mainstream reporters and conservative commentators have dubbed him a candidate for the working class. [...] How can news reporters write that Santorum seeks to be the working class candidate without noting that his policies would snatch the social safety net out from under them?

Rick Santorum has nothing to offer the working class except his ideological contention that tax cuts will magically create jobs that pay you enough to meet your needs. If that's what passes for a working class candidate in today's GOP, I'd like to see their idea of an economic royalist.

Doyle McManus:

A year ago, the tea party movement looked like an irresistible wave sweeping through the Republican Party. Anyone who hoped to win this year's GOP presidential nomination, it seemed, would need to embrace tea party activists' stringent demands for smaller government, lower taxes and deep cuts in spending.

But in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, the three candidates who hewed closest to the tea party line — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich — sank straight to the bottom of the pack. [...] It's noteworthy too that although nearly half of the GOP caucus-goers labeled themselves "very conservative," only about a third were willing to call themselves "strong supporters" of the tea party.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius:

The health-care law gives us dozens of tools to improve chronic-disease management, coordinate care among multiple providers and foster innovation. Experts who have studied the law, from the Medicare trustees to the independent Congressional Budget Office, agree that it will put the brakes on skyrocketing Medicare costs. And last January, 272 of America’s top economists wrote to the House Budget Committee that the ACA “contains essentially every cost-containment provision policy analysts have considered effective in reducing the rate of medical spending.”

It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight. But at a time when some claim that our only options are to allow health-care costs to continue to skyrocket or to make some of the most dramatic cuts to our health-care programs ever proposed, the Affordable Care Act provides a better way forward.

Susan Crawford on the debate over additional top-level domains:

We have to get this right, because this is a critical time in the history of the Internet. Autocratic regimes would like much greater governmental control over Internet content. If the [International Telecommunications Union] takes control of the plumbing of the Internet, they will be better able to do so. In June, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the ITU. According to a transcript of the meeting subsequently published by the Russian government, Putin said: “We are thankful to you for the ideas that you have proposed for discussion. One of them is establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the International Telecommunication Union.”

This shortsighted U.S. fight over new names could be extremely damaging to the Internet’s future. Russia, China, and other regimes already claim that ICANN is an instrument of the U.S. government. When critics attack ICANN, and encourage the federal government to step in, they play directly into the ITU’s plans. This may lead to many other nations joining in a call for government control of Internet resources around the world. The result could be a global Internet content policy effectively made by governments that are most interested in restricting access to information. And that would be bad for the 5 billion citizens of the world yet to connect to the Internet.

The Onion's "Best Debate Moments":

  • Sept. 22: A fumbling, mortified Mitt Romney finds himself at a loss when debate moderator Bret Baier asks the candidates one-by-one to pull out and describe their concealed firearms to the audience [...]
  • Dec. 10: Mitt Romney comes off as out-of-touch with the common man after challenging Rick Perry to a bet of $10,000, a velvet satchel of loose gemstones, and a wastebasket made out of an albino elephant's foot [...]
  • Dec. 15: In spite of another strong debate performance, Ron Paul plunges in the polls as voters grow bored and tired of the congressman having constantly stuck by his principles and policy positions throughout the entire campaign

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