July 6th, 2012
12:36 PM ET
6 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. pditty

    "Its still tough out there"
    a. Thanks captain obvious
    b. Having never worked in the private sector how would he know anything about it (outside what his teleprompter tells him.)

    July 7, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Every economist will tell you that employment is a lagging indicator, means as you go into recession unemployment responds slower than other recession indicators. In simple terms unemployment numbers from Nov 2008 to June 2009 " lagged" but were, like it or not, attributable to Bush policies and economic policies. Whatever the numbers from Feb to June were simply = while happening on Obama's watch but not his to be blamed for.
    He has been in power for 41 months and his administration lowered the decline numbers and since then Have had 28months Of plus job creation, 5 months not his responsibility per se QED and 8 months negative at very low losses gives him as President positive job creation mainly due to Recovery act and other small business measures and tax reliefs to small business. He also proposed AJA fully( paid for) but Republicans have fought the whole thing tooth and nail despite the very positive CBO assessment... why it created potentially too many jobs!?
    Yes Romney says its a choice I know I'm getting something positive job wise/ economy wise and Obama's policies but I have no idea how Romney or Republicans are going to do it better QED I do not have a Jobs choice or economic choice to make a choice= vote Obama.
    I wonder why its all gone quiet on blaming Obama for oil prices since they are now falling... what it shows is it's the market, Oil companies and traders, who determine pump prices not presidents except Obama has granted more licenses than Bush did. Go baby go baby drill the licenses, answer no, more profit in the Keystone pipeline a significant proportin of which will be exported thats why the pipeline comes all the way down south to a nearby Port and under utilised refinery capacity!!

    July 7, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  3. lkm

    ruby from nyc shrimp and grits wouldnt b for breakfast the stuff in the grits would b called hash

    July 7, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  4. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Some of you people need to learn to read and should really watch something other than Fox {Faux} news....You know what they say today...Fox news is worse than NO news at all!!!!!

    July 7, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  5. James Alexander

    Don't be fooled. Obama is a fascist brought up on socialist ideals. He is TRYING to wreck the country in order to work towards this (fascist) New World Order. Look at the evidence!

    Obama has created more national debt in his ONE TERM than the first 41 Presidents COMBINED!!! Obamacare is another nail for our coffin! We can't afford it. It will NOT make healthcare cheaper, it will just funnel money to the Banksters! Your taxes are not going for government programs percentagewise...most of that money goes to pay INTEREST on debt, again to the Banksters. Obama is a puppet, working towards a New World Order (for the banksters) and is working (overtime) to destroy the country. He's already stolen many of your rights from the Bill of Rights. Next, there will be some big event (a false flag) and they will go after our guns. WATCH AND SEE! It's all part of the plan.

    Don't be fooled by the Republican/Conservative vs. Democrat/Liberal "fight." It's all a distraction to what is REALLY going on... ie. the Banksters taking over!

    It's not too late to take back our Republic, but the clock IS TICKING. Ignore at your OWN peril! Please get OUTSIDE the mainstream media, or you will perpetually be brain-washed!

    July 7, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  6. Wes

    I keep seeing interviews on the news of people who have lost jobs in such fields as "theatre management, and internet advertising... among others." There are far too many people with limited job skills and useless education. I would not hire most of the people who whine and complain about their joblessness when they are unwilling to make personal sacrifices to lift themselves up and actually go get a viable job. Rotund sedentary people sitting behind a computer constantly updating unnecessary resumes while their cats are feasting next to their feet have only the mirror to explain their lack of success. Don't blame the leaders, we have bought our own government and it hardly matters which image the President represents. Have at least two or maybe three skill sets available to fall back on and be willing to relocate to areas that have abundant work vacancies. Don't blame the rich guys that you hardly know, and don't care about you personally. If you can't get an advertising job then pick fruit. Life is the basic vocation and work is the structure that forms continuity in social existence. Find out what it is like to have blisters on your hands or sore muscles rather than the smell of an air conditioned cubicle. There are far too many unemployed people who are either stoned or just stupid. I have never had to seek a job, I was always sought out for my abilities; and I got my education in libraries, behind a wrench, or by just paying attention. I am mostly paralyzed with a shattered body and have had several strokes and major surgeries, but I still push myself to seek obstacles to overcome. America is ready for the alarm clock to wake us up and get us out the door. Throw back some coffee and get out there, we need you now.

    July 7, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  7. Capitalists

    As long as Obama and his merry men are in office it will be tough! Those who voted for him and continue to believe in him deserve the prosperity that Obama has given them.

    July 7, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  8. Gurgyl

    Problem is congress, so cast your vote direct democratic ticket...simple. Yes, on obama12.

    July 7, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  9. Flippy

    Flip flop, flippity flop flop

    July 7, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  10. 0rangeW3dge

    Got those Republicans in a lather again? Frothing at the mouth, nearly vomiting at the thought of the tan president besmirching their White House. Sending out the Brown Shirts to re-educate the masses and monitor dissent...
    And what will happen if they lose again? more terrorist acts in Congress? more sabotage of the Government? or,,, will they finally boil over and secede from the Union in armed violence supported by the NRA,,,an American Spring by the fundamentalists?
    Stay Tuned,,Same Time, Same Channel

    July 7, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  11. aMom

    He's gone from "eat your peas" to "it's still tough out there". Come on, Harvard, you can do better than that.

    July 7, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  12. u kiddingme

    i could have been pres last four years. sucked my bottom lip, lied and blamed others because of my gov. rule beliefe.
    Cut Pay in WH and come down through Congress and go to governors,,, All of them Dem and Rep.
    Get the oil the US has, obama didn't create that it was here before he was borned Americans wouldn't need Gov. to provide a damn thing for them. GET the OIL out.

    July 7, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  13. Gary

    American took a chance with this President and Now it is time to cut our losses and replace the Coach. Face the facts Americans we were feed a line of BS and we bought it . Let's not make the same mistake and let's stop giving our futures away to the CON's in the middle EAST. Americans it is time to take America back period !!!

    July 7, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  14. Terry - Indiana

    How quickly people forget their facts. Starting in 2006, people were losing their homes to the banks that offered zero interest loans with a balloon payment that was not explained by the loan officer, the loan broker, and the realtor. We started losing jobs all across America in 2007, and at the end of the Bush Years we were on the brink of a full-scale depression. Goldman Sachs had actually bet on Home Loan Failures, and Bush allowed Paulson to trick the House of Representatives into creating the TARP Bailout for Wall Street. People forget that President Bush looked like a deer in the headlights of a truck when he walked to the microphone and told America that our financial system was on the brink of total collapse. The Congress even gave Paulson immunity from all future prosecution for the years he was CEO of Goldman Sachs. Since that time, not one single control has been put on the banks, and the latest Barclay's and JP Morgan scandals prove it. We now know that hundreds of members of the House and Senate, along with their staff employees, received sweetheart home loans and refinancing which was nothing more than a "kickback". Frankly, as a Republican who voted for George Bush, I am not interested in four more years if it involves the Republican strategies of profit and greed while screwing the middle class and the poor. You may disagree with my position, but you cannot cover-up the facts. Two wars, bank failures, unemployment that was the highest in history, home foreclosures that destroyed the middle class, all happened during the Bush Years.

    July 7, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  15. Dale

    "It's still tough out there" To prove how how tough, I'll get into my free 747 jet and fly to Andrews AFB, get in my free limousine and ride to my free White House with free food. I will also take advantage of White House servants who tend to every need. Most politicians have no idea what "It's still tough out there" truly means; that goes for all politicians not just the President. I say put them all on unemployment wages; according to Nancy Pelosi unemployment wages are good for the economy.

    July 7, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  16. O.T.

    It's still tough out there because Obama is still president. His policies and rhetoric are very damaging to private sector investment. When Americans elect a new president, the country will have the opportunity for economic growth, not until.

    July 7, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Guest

    couple weeks ago "everything is fine." Every time he opens his mouth, he lies.

    July 7, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  18. clayben

    This guy is a joke! A smooth talker. Very dissapointing for me who voted for him.

    July 7, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Jim McDonald

    The only 'shovel ready' jobs this guy created were for the people reporting his endless drivel.

    July 7, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. PeterD

    PeterD says It will always be tough out there as long as Obama is here.

    July 7, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. PeterD

    I say It will always be tough out there as long as he is here.

    July 7, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. Phil muse

    Here's an idea. Since the numbers keep spinning like crazy on Wall Street without creating new jobs for Americans, hows about coming up with a new species of America-only securities, intended exclusively to promote American businesses and not off-shore investments. Call them "All-America securities." To make them more attractive to investors, tax profits from them at the present lower rate for investment income and tax offshore investments at the higher rate for earned income. Everyone would benefit: entrepreneurs, taxpayers, and job seekers.

    July 7, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  23. PeterD

    Vote him out.

    July 7, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. FedUp

    Really? I wouldn't have known that. Guess this man is very intelligent after all.

    July 7, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. milan milenkovic

    After “ LOST DECADE ” for US economy (Bush Administration lost 8 million jobs and add $ 6,1 trillion on US National Debt …)??? Pr. Obama is doing his best to move this country forward in right direction( Obama Adm. created 4,3 million jobs past 27 months). Problems did NOT appear over night and can NOT be solved over night… My opinion: slow and steady recovery, will continue to be in USA this and next year, but I believe that unemployment rate could be between 5 and 6 % at the end of Obama second term!

    July 7, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
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