(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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
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%.
@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."
When is your party going to grow a pair and accept that all your economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES?
There's absolutely NO REASON for President Obama to assume responsibility for all the obstruction, fear, lies, division and hate spewed daily by Republicans, who have absolutely NO QUALMS making our country and her people suffer in their efforts to regain power.
Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice.
I don't believe for a second that "John" voted for President Obama. He's just another GOP lackey trying to discourage Democrats who haven't gotten everything they wanted to stay home in November.
You GOPers are the most pathetic bunch of losers to ever walk down the pike!
But then again, that's all you've got: Lord knows all of your economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.
@Four and whatever: "The American voters sent many Republicans to Washington DC in 2010 to stop the experiment."
The teabaggers who went to Washington have done NOTHING except propose legislation related to controlling a woman's body, block everything the President has tried to do to help, and put our nation's credit rating at risk. You are all a bunch of ignorant fools – and I am personally doing everything I can to ensure that ALL of those teabaggers are gone come November.
In 2008, Obama made the campaign promise of looking at NAFTA. The only thing he's done is sign more trade bills with foreign countries. Every time he signs a trade bill, more Americans are put out of work. Clinton signed bills giving China the right to make parts for the US's security systems. All China has to do is get mad and stop making these parts, and they could take this country without firing a shot, which they have plans of doing anyway. Clinton, Bush and Obama have ruined our country.
@Investment Advisor: "And by the way, Economics has very, very, very little to do with making money for people.....the key is "discipline"......something left wing advocates obviously do not understand."
Economies grow because of demand – and that only happens when people have money to spend. Regarding your belief that the "left wing" supposedly doesn't understand economics, then please explain why historically our country has fared better under Democratic administrations than Republicans ones?
Finger pointer – When has any of your domestic terrorist GOP brethren accepted ANY responsibility for tanking the economy? Name one, or shut your radical extremist fundamentalist right-wing sub-human trap.
@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."
You're wrong; Mittens and the Repubs DO have a plan! Here it is:
1. Make millions breaking up American companies, laying off American workers and outsourcing American jobs.
2. Give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires so they can continue using the extra cash to create jobs overseas where labor is cheap and environmental regulations don't exist.
3. Let the foreclosure crisis play itself out, so folks can lose their biggest investment, "deserving" investors can buy up their houses cheap and then rent them back to the original owners.
4. De-regulate the financial industry, knowing that the market always "corrects" itself.
5. Don't invest in infrastructure, education or renewable energy; instead, give that money to the rich in terms of further tax cuts (see above as to what happens to that extra cash).
6. Start a war with Iran, because we all know that a healthy bottom line for the military industrial complex is all that really matters.
@delos: Here's Mittens' alternative plan (for those who agree with the Bain-ification of our country is best):
1. Hostile takeover (steal the election; he's already proven he's willing to do that with his buying of votes in Maine).
2. Suck out the assets (lower taxes on the wealthy; eliminate capital gains taxes).
3. Reduce operating expenses to finance the debt (lower taxes means lower revenues means higher deficit; eliminate social spending, cut education, let infrastructure continue to crumble and decay, lay off public employees).
4. Take his "fees" for his "expert management services" (see #2 above: he and his millionaire/billionaire cronies would benefit the most from the reduced/eliminated taxes).
5. Leave the company to go bankrupt (our nation would permanently fall into third-world status, with virtually no Middle Class and an uneducated, sprawling poverty class, desperate to work for 50 cents/day, totally dependent on the charity of those few charitable organizations the right deem "worthy" of their donations).
6. Move on to the next target company (invest in emerging nations such as China and India, where labor is cheap and regulations are minimal; make further millions and billions, lining their own pockets and chalking up their killing of America to the "free market correcting itself").
See? The GOP has a plan after all! :)
Gee, that's funny. Didn't he just say "The private sector is doing fine" not too long ago?
Four and the Door – GM is EXPANDING MANUFACTURING and SALES overseas, to sell their vehicles in foreign markets. They're not shipping jobs there, you fact-free mouthbreather.
2 weeks ago we were "doing fine." Which is it? I know, we are "evolving."
President Obama is the great Welfare Food stamp President. Obama is good at putting millions and millions of americans welfare and can hardly create any jobs after almost 4 Full Years. Obama expects the 53% of the country that still works and struggles to keep their head above water to then turn around and pay endless welfare to minorities who don't even want to find work. This has to stop. Obama was a community organizer, it would have been more helpful if he had Real job experience. All this Change is just hot air pennies rustling in the breeze.
and one third of those are temps. People, we are tanking and Obama's only plan is more and higher taxes, regulations, and borrowing from China.
Worst economic, domestic, foreign policy president in history. Absolutely the worst. If you did not have a jobi in 08 still don't have a job or lost it since and you intend to vote Obama you deserve and received exactly what you voted for.
Your lack of understanding the fundamentals of my industry and the people , like me, who work in it is astonishing. Jack answered your question about government spending (Clinton vs Obama) . You accused me of being a bigot...pretty ballsy assumption for someone who knows me, much less someone like you who doesn"t. You and Claudia, TX need to get over your insecurities and stay on point about the topics and not sway to personal attacks....you might lose the anger. Just saying..... Again as I draw you a picture, I'm not the one under the microscope.
Hey, Al – how about Texans getting reimbursed for the hundreds of thousands of dollars our illustrious governor, Rick Perry, spent while making a complete ass of himself on the national stage? I could have spent that money so much better!
He is the worst president ever. Change,debt, hope , yes we can -all just bla-bla-. What people wait from community organizer. This will example for many years in American Politics.
Smerlap Kent, WA
When Bill Clinton left office we had a surplus of $1.2 trillion and had just created 25 million new jobs. When GW Buish left office he had financed two wars on our credit cards, given the wealthy all of the $1.2 trillion in tax cuts, destroyed the regulatory system which led to the bank and econmic collapse in 2008. When Bush left office he had a net job loss of 3.5 million jobs. In teh months before Obama took office with a lame Duck GOP President and Congress we were losing 700,000 jobs per month. The President inherited an economy on the brink of depression and with this stimulus kept it from falling off the cliff. Romney is promising BIGGER TAX CUTs for the rich, paid for with HUGE cuts in services for the poor and middle class. If Romney is elected the next Great Depression is imminent. Those who fail to learn from history doom the rest of us who are paying attention.
Well Said, there is nothing New Romney is bringing to the table, its the same failed policies weve had. Look I fall in a tax bracket that is destined to go up but you don't fix deficits with out tax increases. Bush, Clinton, they all did it and Obamas failure if any will be that he wasted time trying to work with the RNC when they stonewalled him and secondly he didn't raise taxes to pay for Bush's and the GOP's spending. These guys think we have amnesia, they had record spending and 2008 was a high spending year for them on thier way out of office. Look i've been independent my whole life but I can't support the RNC in 2012
Did you hear what Obama and the Democrats snuck/slid into the Transportation Bill? The Transportation Bill includes a tax increase on the small businesses nationwide-that have those cigarette rolling machines-where people can have their cigarettes rolled for half the price!! It appears that Phillip Morris is a major contributor to Max Baucus and Dems-and they were not happy that those little mom and pop stores nationwide were stealing business/profits from them. So, Baucus, Obama, Dems snuck/slid this tax into the Transportation Bill. If you want to learn/read all about this new Obama/Democrat "tax businesses out of business tax", go to the Drudgereport site. So, thousands more US citizens nationwide losing their jobs in July-as these small businesses begin closing their doors this week.
he doesn't know what it is to come clean, he has been coddled his whole life and told some how he is special, when in fact he is just another hack politician and a weak individual..Obama is a great lie perpetrated on the American people and the world!!! and it becomes clearer each day!!
Warning warning warning warning
Peoria ill people are keep complain against presdient obama what about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian
5 people are Guilty recived cash from fraud check scam to vote support for presdient obama 2012
@obama is a loser
Americans, start stockpiling food, water, rations, ammo and weapons, obama is after them.
This is why we need to get people out to vote for President Obama. The radical right-wing is doing all they can to destroy the America we have built with our sweat and the blood of our patriots. Remember, bigoted losers too ignorant to understand a modern, interconnected, racially-diverse, technologically-advanced World are allowed to vote – and to own firearms. They listen to hate media and foolishly react to the distortions and lies. They are dangerous because destruction is always easier than building. Ignorance makes them afraid and fear makes them vulnerable.
20 years from now, will anyone really admit they voted for the uhbama?
It is amazing how some people forget, who decline the job act bill? Everytime Pres. Obama sent bill to congress regarding jobs and student loans it was denied. Congress and the republicans denied every bill he put through. They even had a secret meeting trying to make him a one term pres. What have the republicans done for you lately? They have no jobs plan, no healthcare plan. The republicans are all talk with no solution. If you ask them their plan they give a round about answer. I guess some people like to hear them talk in circle. I seriously thought that some people was smarter than that. Smh
When the ship is sinking, you either bail water or jump ship/ no more obama for me. he ain't gotta clue how to fix the economy.