Thursday’s Mini-Report

THURSDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* The White House jobs summit has wrapped up.

* Encouraging: “First-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000, the lowest total since the week of Sept. 6, 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. Wall Street economists expected an increase, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.”

* Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, who manages the day-to-day operations at the Justice Department, is stepping down in February.

* Bank of America apparently has a plan to repay all of its federal aid. That’s $45 billion.

* A national Reuters poll found that nearly 60% of Americans support a public option as part of health care reform.

* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had an unpleasant day with the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering his re-nomination. Under fire from members of both parties, Bernanke eventually conceded, “In the area where we had responsibility, the bank holding companies, we should have done more. That is a mistake we won’t make again.” Nevertheless, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has a hold on the nomination.

* As expected, the Mikulski amendment passed today. McCain’s Medicare amendment didn’t.

* Vice President Biden today called the administration’s policy in Afghanistan “a clean break from the failed Afghanistan policy of the Bush administration, and a new, focused strategy that can succeed.”

* On a related note, a new USA Today/Gallup poll shows a narrow majority of Americans supporting the Obama policy.

* Brown Dog Democrats — Dems from manufacturing and coal states — are willing to consider the climate bill, but have presented the White House with a series of conditions to consider.

* Comcast is buying NBC.

* And for what it’s worth, the Comcast CEO is a big supporter of health care reform.

* Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington would like the Senate Ethics Committee to review the process of secret holds.

* MSNBC’s Chris Matthews apologized last night for calling the U.S. Military Academy at West Point President Obama’s “enemy camp.” Matthews told viewers, “I used the wrong words and, worse than that, I said something that is just not right and for that I deeply apologize.”

* What the Bushies did to the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department was a tragedy.

* Newt Gingrich, still not fact-oriented.

* Are threats against the president up this year? Perhaps not.

* I’m reminded as to why Robert Samuelson isn’t worth reading.

* Another FNC journalistic ethics fiasco: “‘Fox & Friends’ co-host Gretchen Carlson interviewed Derek Jeter Wednesday morning — but in the course of praising the Yankees star, she neglected to mention that her husband is his agent!”

* Beautiful speech from New York state Sen. Diane Savino (D) on marriage equality.

* And finally, Michael Rosenwald had a “great pick of the day” today: “40 years of Washington Monthly.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.