Ask a Democrat about jobs and the economy, and they'll wallow in optimism, secure in the knowledge that things are just fine with President Obama in charge. Ask a Republican? The answer will be bleak, indeed. There is a huge partisan divide in how Americans perceive the state of the economy: Democrats say all's rosy while Republicans insist otherwise.
It's a "record" partisan gap, in fact. So says the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which has tracked the sentiments since the last election cycle.
"Amid the nation's financial crisis four years ago, there were virtually no differences in how Republicans, Democrats and independents viewed economic news. About eight-in-ten in each group said the news they were hearing was mostly bad," notes the group's new study. "Differences in perceptions of economic news emerged after Barack Obama took office. But they never have been as great as they are today. Four times as many Republicans as Democrats say the news they have been hearing about the economy is mostly bad (60 percent vs. 15 percent)."
It gets worse, though. Three-fourths of Grand Old Party members say news on jobs and employment is bad, compared to a third of Democrats. Another 74 percent of Republicans say consumer prices are bad; 40 percent of Democrats agree.
"With the election less than two months away, partisan differences in views of economic news have become wider than ever. Despite this month's lackluster jobs report, there has been a modest decline in the percentage of Americans saying news about the economy is mostly bad — with virtually all of the change coming among Democrats," the study notes.
New books recounting the killing of Osama bin Laden make certain officials very nervous these days. But the event has already migrated into popular culture. Witness "The Gun That Killed Osama," the season premiere episode of "Sons of Guns," the Discovery Channel series featuring Will Hayden and a team of gunsmiths from Red Jacket Firearms, way down south in Baton Rouge, La.
"What gun did the Navy SEALs use to take out Osama bin Laden? It's a hot topic in the firearms community," the network says, noting that former SEAL Chris Kyle will advise the gunsmiths on how to modify one particular weapon "up to the specs required for the SEAL raid on Osama." Was the weapon in question a Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifle?
"The details of that operation are still classified," Mr. Kyle says.
Drama ensues. The team also replicates bin Laden's secret compound while Mr. Kyle re-enacts the events, complete with a leap from a helicopter and a set that includes masked scarfed dummies. "They delve into the gun many think was used to kill bin Laden. Of course, that info is classified and no one knows for sure. But interesting to see what was likely used, and by a former Navy SEAL," a source observes. The program airs Wednesday at 9 p.m.
NBC'S WHITE HOUSE OBSESSION
Interesting to note that NBC devoted 25 percent more coverage to the Democratic National Convention (121 minutes) than it did the Republican convention (97 minutes). So says Scott Whitlock, a sharp-eyed analyst at the Media Research Center who bothered to count out the moments. But NBC also is fascinated with the White House. Yes, the network once aired "The West Wing." Now we can look forward to "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," a new comedy set at the White House and penned in part by Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for President Obama.
But NBC is not quite done yet. Melodrama lurks.
The network also plans to produce "White House Confidential," centered around a young woman doctor who tends to the elite residents within, though she has a "secret past." Or something like that. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are at home with big, lush presentations; they'll produce the upcoming Academy Awards, a Bonnie and Clyde miniseries, and a biopic on Anna Nicole Smith. And the creative force? That would be Sri Rao, former head writer for the long-running soap opera "General Hospital."
THE RATTLE OF PAPERS
There is dispute over the influence of newspaper endorsements in a presidential election. In an earlier era, they were trumpeted with gusto; analysts dryly insist the endorsements don't matter these days. But no matter. Some publications still indulge — like the Eagle Tribune in North Andover, Mass., that has just endorsed Mitt Romney with much ado, claiming that he can "restore the nation to sanity," among other things.
"When we look at everything, when we review the state of our country, our position on the world stage and the confidence small- and medium-sized businesses have in the near and long-term future, we come away with an obvious conclusion. Our country needs the skills not only of a commander-in-chief but also of a chief executive officer," says Tribune publisher Al Getler.
"Am I enamored with every one of Gov. Romney's positions? No. But we choose the best candidate the parties offer and we choose Mitt Romney," he adds.
There are other Romney endorsements, all made in the weeks preceding Super Tuesday. Among the candidate's print-based champions: Arizona Republic, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, Birmingham News, Detroit News, New Hampshire Union Leader, Oklahoman and Grand Rapids Press.
POLL DU JOUR
• 94 percent of President Obama's supporters and 86 percent of Mitt Romney's supporters say they are "enthusiastic" about their candidate.
• 86 percent of Obama supporters and 85 percent of Romney supporters say they will definitely vote for their candidate.
• 75 percent of Obama voters say their vote is "for Obama," 22 percent say their vote is "against Romney."
• 45 percent of Romney voters say their vote is "for Romney," 50 percent say their vote is "against Obama."
• 59 percent of Obama voters feel "anxious" about how Mr. Obama will perform as president for the next four years.
• 50 percent of Romney voters feel "anxious" about how Mr. Romney will perform as president for the next four years.
Source: A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 7 to 9.
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