President Obama’s approval ratings are down, the country’s wrong-track numbers are up, the most recent employment numbers came in (“unexpectedly”) as dismal. And as Jennifer Epstein of Politico reports, the president is telling his Cabinet:
“I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone,” Outlining the strategy, Obama said he plans to use his pen to sign executive actions and his phone to convene outside groups in support of his agenda if Congress proves unable or unwilling to act on his priorities.
So today the president is traveling to North Carolina where, as Mark Landler of the New York Times reports, he will:
… announce the establishment of a manufacturing institute to help create well-paying jobs.
Weary, perhaps, of waiting for the creation of those well-paying jobs, and unsure that the president can bring it off with a pen and a phone, North Carolina has taken steps of its own and its unemployment rate has dropped from nearly 9 percent last July to under 7.5 percent in December.
There is a Senate seat up for grabs in North Carolina and the outcome will depend heavily on who gets credit for those numbers. Washington, where they are debating the question of extending long-term unemployment benefits, or the (Republican) state government that took steps to end them.
In unrelated news, the incumbent Democratic senator from North Carolina will not be making the trip with the president.