At 8:30 a.m. (or so), the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its November report, detailing the unemployment rate and the number of jobs the economy created (or lost) for the month.

Unlike during the heat of the 2012 election -- a.k.a. a month ago -- the announcement won't launch a million tweets or a series of pieces analyzing what it all means for the election. (Worth noting: The relative health of the economy mattered less than many of us thought it might in determining the outcome of the election.)

While the heat surrounding this morning's announcement is nowhere near what it was, say, two months ago, that doesn't mean that today's report doesn't matter. It does.

The jobs report will land smack dab in the middle of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, which remain largely stuck at the moment.

A report that showed job growth improving and the unemployment rate dropping would further strengthen President Obama's negotiating position with House Republicans.  A disappointing report -- unemployment over 8 percent, slow or no job growth -- would hand Republicans some (badly needed) leverage to make the argument that now is not the time to be raising taxes on anyone -- up to and including those who make $250,000 or more a year.

What will we get? According to Gallup's monthly employment survey, the latter scenario appears more likely. Gallup shows seasonal unemployment up to 8.3 percent, almost a full one point increase from October.

Here's the Gallup unemployment rate trend line:

No matter what the BLS report says, it will impact how the two parties position themselves for the final few weeks of the fiscal cliff fight. The election may be over, but the politics of the economy still matter -- a lot.

Romney raised $86 million in final weeks: Mitt Romney's presidential campaign raised nearly $86 million during the final weeks of the 2012 campaign, according to a report filed Thursday evening.

The campaign had $24.4 million cash on hand as of Nov. 26, but says its expenses are still being paid off and that it will have less than $1 million on hand when all is said and done.

Meanwhile, Obama's campaign had $5.4 million cash on hand and $7.2 million in debt.


Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) parting shot at House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio): “I’m not with Boehner. ... This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government.”

Former senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) hits back at DeMint: "People who want to govern do not subscribe to the views that Jim promoted in the Senate."

Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling is out with its first 2016 presidential poll, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) having a slight lead on the GOP side and Hillary Clinton the runaway favorite on the Democratic side.

Bill Clinton says of his wife and 2016: "She's in great shape; she has unbelievable stamina."

Jeb Bush takes over for Bill as chairman of the National Constitution Center.

Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) PAC pays a lot to consultants. To candidates? Not so much.


"DeMint group's mixed win-loss record" -- Carrie Dann, NBC News

"Some in GOP urge lawmakers to back tax hikes for changes in safety-net programs" -- Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

"10 most delusional campaign moments" -- Lois Romano, Politico

"Jim DeMint and the death of think tanks" -- Ezra Klein, Washington Post

"Alaska: Future Swing State?" -- Nate Silver, New York Times