July 6th, 2012
12:36 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama on job numbers: 'It's still tough out there'

(CNN) – On the day new employment numbers showed a disappointing growth of 80,000 jobs in June, President Barack Obama on Friday nodded to the small increase but said there was more work to be done.

"It's still tough out there," Obama said at a campaign stop in Poland, Ohio.

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Adding that some of the new jobs included manufacturing positions and that June marked the 28th straight month of job creation in the private sector, Obama said last month's numbers indicated "a step in the right direction."

However, he said, that wasn't enough.

"We can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get to where were back in 2007," the president said. "I want to get back to a time when middle class families and those working to get into the middle class have some basic security. That's our goal."

Responding to the president's comments, Mitt Romney's campaign took issue with Obama's phrasing, saying the economy's unemployment rate at 8.2% was a sign that the country was "losing ground," not taking a "step in the right direction."

"This is a time for America to choose whether they want more of the same; whether unemployment above 8 percent month after month after month is satisfactory or not. It doesn't have to be this way. America can do better and this kick in the gut has got to end," Romney said in a statement.

Obama's comments came on the second leg of his two-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, two key swing states this November that also serve as a manufacturing hub.

In his remarks Friday, the president particularly focused on the economy, outlining what he often describes as the two "fundamentally different" economic theories playing out in this election.

Arguing that his plan, which includes raising taxes on the very wealthy, aims to build from the "middle out" rather than the top-down, Obama took a swipe at Romney, saying his millionaire rival could stand to pay more to Uncle Sam.

"Folks like me can afford to do it, I promise you I know. I've talked to my accountant," he said, drawing laughs. "And I sure know Mr. Romney can do a little more."

Appearing the in the Rust Belt region, Obama especially emphasized a need to boost the manufacturing sector. His administration filed a complaint Thursday with the World Trade Organization against China, citing what they called inconsistent duties leveled on certain American automobiles, including those made out of Toledo's Jeep assembly plant.

While he didn't mention the complaint Friday, he insisted he would work to protect American auto workers.

"I want to sell more goods stamped with three proud words: Made in America," he said.

The president also spent considerable time talking about his signature health care law, which was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court last week in a landmark decision.

He repeated an earlier attack he made in an interview aired Friday, accusing Romney of flip-flopping on his position on the law's penalty for those who refuse to purchase health insurance, a fine the high court deemed a "tax."

Obama, however, maintains the fee is a penalty, which is what Romney also called a similar measure in the healh care law he enacted as governor of Massachusetts.

But Romney, like many Republicans, calls the fine in the federal law a tax.

"When you hear all these folks saying, oh no, this is a tax, this is a burden on middle class families, let me tell ya, we know because the guy I'm running against tried this in Massachusetts, and it's working just fine, even though now he denies it," Obama said.

The president forcefully stood by the law, reiterating that his administration plans to continue to enforce it.

"I make no apologies for it. We're going to keep it moving forward. It was the right thing to do two years ago. It's the right thing to do now," he said.

Not only do Ohio and Pennsylvania represent crucial battleground territory this November, but Obama's bus tour path is also home to many working class voters, a group the two campaigns are trying to attract.

Obama started the morning with eggs, bacon and wheat toast at an Ann's Place in Akron, Ohio, where he sat down with three workers from the city's Goodyear tire plant.

Offered grits at the diner, Obama said, "You have grits, too?" and ordered a plate-full, according to pool notes from a reporter at the restaurant.

Next on his tour was a stop in Boardman to tour the Summer Garden Food Manufacturing.

While the bulk of his bus trip has taken place in Ohio, the president crosses the border into western Pennsylvania later Friday and finishes the tour in Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, Obama blazed through the northern part of the Buckeye State, starting in Maumee outside of Toledo, then heading east to the city of Sandusky and finishing the day with an event in Parma.

Countering the president's statements on the trail, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have been shadowing Obama's campaign stops. Thursday, they held events in Maumee and Parma, and made an appearance in Pittsburgh Friday morning, about three and half hours before Obama's scheduled arrival.

"Barack Obama has taken 'hope and change' and turned it into 'bait and switch.' He has walked back and forth on a number of issues, but he said just yesterday, I believe in Ohio, to a local media outlet that when you're president of the United State, your words matter," Pawlenty said.

The trip marks Obama's seventh time to Ohio this year, a state that CNN rates as a "toss-up" in its Electoral Map. Ohio has long been a key swing state in presidential elections, and a Quinnipiac survey released last week showed Obama with an edge over Romney, 47% to 38%.

As for Pennsylvania, the president was last in the Keystone State in mid June, when he held three fund-raisers in one day in Philadelphia. His wife, Michelle, also ventured to the city in early June and fired up a Philly crowd, urging them to turn out for her husband in November.

CNN rates the state as a state leaning toward Obama. A separate Quinnipiac survey released last week indicated the president had a slight margin over Romney, 45% to 39%.


Filed under: 2012 • Ohio • Pennsylvania • President Obama
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    Larry L
    ...Clinton never faced a recession like the one left behind by Dubya. You're also pretending the difference between 18 and 25% of GDP is the factor that means Clinton didn't spend his way out of a recession.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Obama is proving beyond all doubt that buying an economy "back to life" is a myth. It builds debt, not value. The American voters sent many Republicans to Washington DC in 2010 to stop the experiment. They have done their job well. Obama, Pelosi and Reid would have national debt above $20 trillion by now without the help of the taxpayer. And the economy would be no better off than it is now.

    July 6, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. ruth

    Please...whoever keeps inviting him to ohio....stop....I have had enough of him,smooth talker is all he is....he talks the talk but can not walk the walk....

    July 6, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. Charlie from the North

    Well, we went from losing 700,000 jobs a month to gaining an average of 200,000. The last two months have only been 80 or 90 thousand. It is not enough but what kind of math are you using that says it is not better? I swear if our President walked on water you tea pardiots would say : See I told you he couldn't swim"

    July 6, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Gobama

    When Mitt was governor of Massachusetts, there were jobs available – in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. But nothing in Massachusetts as Mitt's policies crashed the state economy. Mitt will create jobs alright – as long as you are willing to work in Mexico or Canada.

    Obama's problem is a Congress with an established mission of squashing his presidency – no matter the cost. It is truly firightening to think if Mitt somehow got into the oval office...

    July 6, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. delos

    Why don't you people face it Mitt has no plan, the GOP has no plan all they have is BS sound bites.
    They sound like just what the are sound bite designed for childern with attention spands no longer then 30 second.

    July 6, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    @Larry L
    Thank you for your advice and I'll make sure that "Investment Advisor" never ever gets my business because I don't advice from anyone who has "a complete lack of capacity".

    July 6, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. The Film Professor

    The GOP House has blocked all of Obama's economic initiatives for the past two years - for them to claim that Obama isn't managing the economy well is thus absurd. And for anyone is this country to again buy into the ideas that more tax cuts and less regulation of Wall Street is somehow going to improve the economy - well, that's just plain stupid. What is it W said "Fool me once, I won't get fooled again"? The GOP thinks that you are fools.

    July 6, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. John

    Obama is a failure, we should have chosen Hilary.
    This bozo is about to lose us the White House and both houses.
    I could kick myself for voting for him.

    July 6, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    And here's what Mittens proposes to fix the economy: More tax cuts for the rich and elimination of the capital gains tax. In other words, all the economic policies that are PROVEN FAILURES for our economy and the average American.

    On the other hand, what Mittens wants gives the investor class more and more money to invest or stash overseas. See, folks, Mittens and his cronies believe that what is best is for the rich to have all the money and power; us average Americans don't deserve opportunity or a living wage. Why, if we did, we'd have been born into wealth, right?

    Wake up, folks. It'd be one thing if GOP economics worked, BUT IT DOESN'T. Although the jobs numbers were weak, we've still have 28 straight months of growth! Heckuva lot better than the 800,000 jobs a month we were losing under GW Bush!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    July 6, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. obama is a loser

    Americans, start stockpiling food, water, rations, ammo and weapons, obama is after them. Prepare to fight the tresonous tyrany that obama has created in a police country, obama wants to be king, but as REAL Ameriacans we can dethrone him in November and be prepared for an obaama false flag event before october.

    July 6, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. obama is a loser

    Vietnam taught us a lot of things, pits, bamboo and other tactics, we are prepared this time....haha

    July 6, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Larry L

    @Four and The Door

    Larry L
    The American voters sent many Republicans to Washington DC in 2010 to stop the experiment. They have done their job well. Obama, Pelosi and Reid would have national debt above $20 trillion by now without the help of the taxpayer. And the economy would be no better off than it is now.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Had we plunged into the depths of a true depression we would have lacked the manufacturing capacity to pull ourselves out. We were precariously close to that event and the stimulus packages averted complete disaster. Remember – the first bailout package was issued by Bush. If China called the loans due and our bond rating went down the toilet, all of the Monday-morning quarterbacking in the world wouldn't help. That Social Security check wouldn't clear...

    In a democracy there is never a situation where obstructionism to prevent debate and a vote is a good thing. The Republicans weren't attempting to "save our economy from debt" – they were trying to create failure so they could get elected. We've all heard the narrative from that first meeting where the plan was formalized. We've all heard Mitch McConnell state his "only goal". Man-up! Republicans caused the problem now fight to prevent recovery.

    July 6, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. Four and The Door

    John
    Obama is a failure, we should have chosen Hilary.
    This bozo is about to lose us the White House and both houses.
    I could kick myself for voting for him.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________
    The part I don't get is how the Democrats gave Obama the nomination again. Really? You couldn't find anyone better without the last 3 1/2 years of baggage to drag into the election? Someone at the DNC was asleep at the wheel.

    July 6, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. the finger pointer in chief says what? all he does is blame others...never taking responsibility

    Have you ever seen such a weak pathetic blame the other guy leader? its 4 yrs later buddy....start to take some responsibility. I cant believe americans are sick of this blame game crap.

    July 6, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Pditty

    Hope and Change

    Its Bush's fault.

    The best leaders blame others.

    July 6, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. jamison

    Hiring has gone up EACH MONTH since about the 3rd month Obama took office. Does anyone think the disaster that Bush/Cheney caused could be fixed in a short time. They started two UNFUNDED WARS, got a drug plan in place that WASNT PAID FOR and then to insult the majority of the nation lowered taxes on the wealthy. We cant go back to those kind of economics. OBAMA – then CLINTON for 12 MORE YEARS.

    July 6, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. Barry G.

    Our politicians (both parties) are making out like bandits.

    July 6, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Barry G.

    There is no way that a country, a business or any other concern to survive and thrive, when the leaders are corrupt.

    July 6, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Debbie

    Why are people so bent on being blind to what Obama is saying and doing? He's great at telling lies and using people to get what he wants. The numbers tell the tale. High debt and getting higher, adding how many IRS agents??? Bigger government for sure. If you're lucky to get a paycheck, start taking pictures of them because if Obama is reelected, you will be able to compare your future checks and see how much money you lose because of him. He talks the talk and only idiots listen. He was an ATTORNEY. Attorneys use psychology on everyone to get what they want whether it hurts anyone or not. They don't care. Think about it before you vote. At least Romney never took a dime for his hard work.

    July 6, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    Larry L
    ...Had we plunged into the depths of a true depression we would have lacked the manufacturing capacity to pull ourselves out. We were precariously close to that event and the stimulus packages averted complete disaster.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    I gotta give David Axelrod, the Master of Democratic Party Spin an A for Effort with this one! " The stimulus averted complete financial disaster". He actually found a buyer for that theory. " The kind of financial disaster that the world has never known, headed off by the Obama Administration financial wizards!" They love you, Larry L. They are counting on people like you in November, so do show up and vote.

    July 6, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. bill

    You know gas was so much cheaper the last time we had a GOP president. Of course, we have a war debt that we'll never be able to pay off in our lifetimes based on false WMD claims so that we could invade Iraq, but gas was still so much cheaper.

    July 6, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Greg

    What if he had done nothing, our economy would have even been worse and more jobs would have been lose. Mitt Romney has all the answers and fixes but NEVER SAYS HOW HE IS GOING TO FIX THINGS. What I really want is some rich guy with his foreign bank accounts and his wealth to help the middle class!!! He has no clue how to help the middle class and all his buddies.

    July 6, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  23. Larry L

    @Four and The Door

    The part I don't get is how the Democrats gave Obama the nomination again. Really? You couldn't find anyone better?
    ------------------------------------------------
    You ran McCain/Palin. Previously you elected "Dubya" – twice! Remember him? The one who trashed our economy? Now, you offer us Romney... a flip-flopping, chicken-hawk, vulture capitalist, spoiled, preppy, lap-dog for the rich.

    President Obama is the terrorist's worst nightmare. He remains an advocate for the working folks. He's an articulate, knowledgeable, and caring leader. He has served masterfully as Commander-In-Chief. He has regained the respect of our allies. This is easy.

    July 6, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    There ain't no Republican party, it's the tea party. What used to be the Grand Old Party has been hijacked because people sent a bunch of "amatuers" teabaggers to Washington so Murdock, Welch and others are trying to buy it back because they want "Pros". So what it amounts to they're telling you to put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

    July 6, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    @obama is a loser: "Americans, start stockpiling food, water, rations, ammo and weapons, obama is after them. Prepare to fight the tresonous tyrany that obama has created in a police country, obama wants to be king, but as REAL Ameriacans we can dethrone him in November and be prepared for an obaama false flag event before october."

    Hard to believe folks like you exist! The ONLY gun-related legislation President Obama has signed ... allows folks to carry concealed weapons in National Parks! And where's this "police country" President Obama has created? What liberties and freedoms have you lost (except for the one to have only white presidents)?

    On President Obama's order, Osama bin Laden IS DEAD. President Obama avenged the over 3,000 souls lost on 9/11. His orders for drone attacks have taken out dozens of al Qaeda members. We're out of Iraq and winding down in Afghanistan. He has shown further support for our military by signing the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, which provides for the expenses of families of to be at Dover AFB when fallen soldiers arrive; the President also donated $250,000 of his Nobel prize money to Fisher House, which provides a "home away from home for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury."

    We've had 27 straight months of PRIVATE SECTOR JOB GROWTH. The stock market is over 12,000. GM is alive and the top auto maker IN THE WORLD. Healthcare reform now guarantees that if you can't be denied insurance for pre-existing conditions or if you get sick or give birth to a special needs child, your insurance company won't cancel your benefits.

    I just don't see how you can look at all these FACTS and somehow think President Obama is out to get you ...

    July 6, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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