Good Thursday morning. Here’s what’s going on:
- It is official. Sarah Palin is NOT running for president in 2012. After years of toying with the media and millions of adoring fans, the one-time Alaska Governor ended the will-she-won’t-dance last night in classic Sarah fashion last night. In an email to supporters, Palin said she has decided she can be “more effective” as a perennial non-candidate. “You don’t need an office to make a difference,” she added.
- From the ashes of Palin and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has risen the phoenix of Herman Cain, who is now tied at the top of the pack with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. But Rick Perry’s campaign can’t be left for dead yet. The Texas Gov. announced yesterday that he raised $17.1 million in just 49 days — significantly more than Romney’s anticipated haul. Ron Paul has also proved he has staying power in the race. The Texas Congressman said yesterday that he raised $8 million in the third quarter from a 100,000 donors.
- Adding to the dashed Republican hopes yesterday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced that he is not interested in the vice presidential nomination next year. But that hasn’t stopped 2012 contenders from trying to woo the Tea Party darling by defending his honour against Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Rubio is feuding with the network over its July investigation into his brother-in-law’s 1987 drug trafficking conviction.
- After a sad Wednesday, Republicans got some good news this morning — President Barack Obama’s disapproval rating has hit an all-time high of 55%, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Approval of Obama’s handling of the economy hit a record low at 32%.
- The President — in the middle of a full-court press on his jobs bill — will host a press conference at 11 a.m. this morning at the White House. CNN reports that he will endorse the 5.6% millionaires surtax proposed by Senate Democrats yesterday. That goes way above and beyond the Buffett Rule tax Obama had in mind last week. But the tax is a no-go with Republicans. Adding insult to injury, House Speaker John Boehner sent reporters this image this morning, mocking Obama for his inability to get the Senate to take up the jobs bill.
- The White House is also taking a lot of heat from House Republicans on two major scandals that are threatening to take down at least a couple senior administration officials. Attorney General Eric Holder is under a lot of pressure to admit he knew about the Fast and Furious gun smuggling scandal a lot earlier than he has claimed — which would basically amount to admitting he perjured himself in an attempt to cover up the botched sting. And on the Solyndra front, the Washington Post reports that the White House and the Department of Energy considered giving the now-bankrupt solar company a second federal loan, knowing full well that the company would likely default on its first $534 billion loan. House investigators now want Obama’s personal emails relating to Solyndra.
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