Washington Daybook: Show Stopper

Photograph by John Moore/Getty Images

Job applicants wait to meet potential employers at the NYC Startup Job Fair held at 7 World Trade Center in New York City.

Mitt Romney might be forgiven for rooting against the U.S. economy today.

Unemployment probably rose from three-year low in October as employers curbed hiring on the concern that growth will suffer if lawmakers fail to avert tax increases and spending cuts slated to take effect next year, economists said before the monthly report from the Labor Department. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will discuss the data in an interview on Bloomberg Television this morning.

In the last employment report before next week’s election, the jobless rate probably climbed to 7.9 percent, the first increase in three months, from 7.8 percent in September, according to the median forecast of 91 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Payrolls likely grew by 125,000 workers last month following a 114,000 gain, the survey showed.

Romney may be hoping for even worse numbers as he presses his case in the final days of campaigning that he’d be a better manager of the economy than Obama. He may need all the help he can get. Although most polls show a tight race, Americans are very good at predicting the outcome of presidential races — they’ve been right the past four elections — and right now, Gallup says 54 percent think Obama will win, and only 34 percent predict a Romney administration.

To try and turn the tide, Romney is pulling out the big guns tonight at a show-stopper rally in Ohio, with a musical performance by Kid Rock and appearances by supporters including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Arizona Sen. John McCain, House Speaker John Boehner, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, former N.Y.C. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Olympians Derek Parra and Scott Hamilton, and golf legend Jack Nicklaus — plus Ann, Tagg, Jen, Matt, Laurie, Josh, Ben, Craig and Mary Romney.

Ohio is one of nine states where Obama and Romney are concentrating their political fire in a final burst of campaigning before Nov. 6. Over the next few days one or both candidates also will be in Florida, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada and Pennsylvania as they look for the path to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win.

Today in Washington, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds a conference call briefing to discuss the business community’s response to the damage and destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. Johns Hopkins University holds a forum on trans-Atlantic relations, with Roberto Viola, deputy director general of the European Commission. And the U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to announce whether it will review a finding that Nintendo Co. didn’t violate patent rights of a company that runs magic-themed parks. Apollo Global Management LLC’s Creative Kingdoms claimed Wii motion-activated controllers and gaming system infringe its patents for interactive play systems.

Also today, Amtrak will provide limited Acela Express and Northeast Regional service between Washington and Boston today, marking a partial restoration of Northeast Corridor service for the first time since Oct. 28, when Hurricane Sandy approached the U.S.

And Penn State President Rodney Erickson delivers a  National Press Club luncheon address one day after his predecessor, Graham Spanier, was charged with five counts including endangering the welfare of a child stemming from the Jerry Sandusky scandal.


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