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. eroteme

    Obama: 'It's still tough out there'. Just read the headline, not the text. Was the Untouchable One referring to his golf game/s?

    July 7, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Peace

    @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....
    --------------
    Dear Ruth, you can skip going to see him. We all do what is important for us. BUT you should understand that, there are a lot in Ohio who are realising the fruits of his work. They want to see him even more often. I do think you have realised how many people have been attending when he is around. One absent person (as you seem) will not affect the majority.

    July 7, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Lizzie

    Then Senator Obama slammed Pres.Bush for creating ONLY 200 to 300 thousand jobs, now he is telling us 80000 is GREAT.

    July 7, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Walter

    So, is the only way it's not going to be tough is if you are re-elected and your party takes control of House and keeps control of the Senate – so that the "obstructionistic Republicans" are cast aside? If that's the case, we're in for another 4 tough years if you're re-elected. There is a far greater chance of Romney getting elected than dozens of Republicans not getting re-elected.

    July 7, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Bryan

    "A step in the right direction"??? This guy is clueless.

    July 7, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. marty

    Republicans can spin the politics all they wish but people have two eyes, two ears and a brain. They will demonstrate that at election time and vote for President Obama, who works for ALL of the people in all walks of life.

    July 7, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Mark

    MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2012: Obama defending his record.

    July 7, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. Bubba

    Isn't a Republic / Democrat issue. It's an America issue. I had high hopes for Obama based on his rhetoric but sadly find his words are simply that; words. After 3 1/2 years you'd think he'd either shoulder some of the balame or step aside. He even more sadly is starting to make Jimmy Carter look impressive

    July 7, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Gregg

    What else can he say? It is tough. I would like to hear what he plans to do about it other than blame "the other guy".

    July 7, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Kevin

    .....and it will continue to be tough until Obo is gone.

    Hang on America......only 4 month left.

    July 7, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. emma

    Obama is trying to do something about the joblessness. The forces that prevent his plan from being realized are against opportunities for American workers. That would make Obama look effective and the wealthy who really control how we are governed do not want success for him.

    July 7, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Sue

    When Obama was Senator, he slammed Bush for creating 300,000 jobs in one month-it is on video!! Yet, all facts/evidence proves that we now have this clueless, incompetent, boy dictator-who has been destroying our economy/country since he got into office. And, now that the Dems/Obama are forcing all of the tobacco stores nationwide to close their doors beginning this week-–due to the Obama/Dems "tax businesses out of business tax" that was snuck into the Transportation Bill-–and Best Buy just announced that they are letting go 2400 employees--definitely do not expect July's jobs report to be any better!! And, hey liberals--you might believe the lies that come out of Obama's mouth-but the majority of Independents do NOT!! The majority of Independents realize that Obama is an incompetent liar--look at all of the state/national polls. And, the Independents will decide the election in November!! Hope and Change for the middle class and the US begins in November--when Obama is sent back to Chicago!!

    July 7, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. Bren

    In June, 85,000 US citizens were put on disability. Obama's policies created more people put on disability--then jobs!! Under Obama, more people were put on foodstamps, then in the history of our country!! Obama's policies created more people on foodstamps, then jobs!! There are millions of people over 55 years old that may never be able to work again to save for their retirement, thanks to Obama and his policies. US citizens/voters want independence, self respect, jobs, and the ability/opportunity to work hard and succeed--NOT welfare and foodstamps!!

    July 7, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. SafeJourney

    America, you think it is tough now? Just wait. If romney is elected Pres , lots more American jobs will be sent overseas by Romneys buddies. Thats what romney did at Bain capital vulture.

    July 7, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. RudyG

    It is absolutely insulting for my president to tell me that 80,000 new jobs per month is a step in the right direction!! And then he tells me it's still tough out there!! Wow! But, I guess he's running out of material for excuses.
    I'm an independent who voted for this man. It is absolutely incredible to me that there are still independents who are undecided. Maybe they can cast their vote while on their way to the unemployment line!

    July 7, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. Betting on America....Yes

    America "Yes"..........Obama..."No".......Go for Romney America if you are "Betting"

    July 7, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. Kathryn Harlan

    "Tough" is that what Obama's handlers told him to say?? !!! But this economy is FREAKING HORRIBLE!! And the jobs report is digusting!!! Fly around in Air Force One and hang out at Hollywood fund raisers.. this Obama voter in 2008 is OVER HIM!! I'll take my chances with Romney!! And if he can't get America back to work in 4 years I WILL VOTE HIM OUT.. But Obama can pound sand!!

    July 7, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Kathryn Harlan

    Republicans are to blame.. blah blah blah.. And the sinking middle class should pay more taxes to keep this President in office??...Taxing the rich will never bring enough revenue..its the middle class that will be hit the hardest under Obama.. And I once voted for this man of "change"... How stupid was I?? I apparently voted for myself and my unemployed COLLEGE educated kids to pay hirer taxes ..that was the change Obama gave me... I clearly shot myself in the foot for this ego driven politician!! NEVER AGAIN!!

    July 7, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. David

    Ive lost half my wealth since Obama was elected. He always does the opposite of what the majority of Americans want.

    July 7, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. November Hope n Change

    .......what this country reall yneeds is another flowerly speach from our fearless leader Obo.

    Where have all those flowerly speaches gone......?? I so truely miss them with all the Hope and Change, building a new country for all, better days are just around the corner, bucket of chicken in every pot, etc, etc, etc......all food for liberal sheep....baa, baaa, baa. Keep following your god right off the cliff.

    Hang on America.....only 4 months left.

    July 7, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. ublvble

    i thought private sector was doing fine and only need is to increase more union jobs. hmmm atleast president knows that job market is not good.

    July 7, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Jim

    We don't need Obama to create more laws, every time he does, it sets this country back farther from an actual recovery. Every time he touches something, it costs this country more and more money. RON PAUL 2012!

    July 7, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    Where have the 80,000 jobs that have been placed go to, sectors and markets? What cities where these jobs that were filled go mostly to? What job industries did most of these jobs go into? What is the average pay for these jobs? Where these jobs mostly full time, only part time or only temporary, what percentage of each catagory? Why did those companies that hired hire? Was any training provided for these new employees or where they fully experienced? How were these people mostly hired through agencies, internet, where? How many of these jobs went to US citizens and how many to green card holders? I have no specifics as to this statement so I am very leary as to its full truth!

    July 7, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Roy

    For the vast majority of Americans, who have health insurance, there is no "tax". In fact, many of the key provisions in ACA will reduce healthcare costs (most pundits don't talk about the Accountable Care Organizations and other elements that are already having a positive impact". For those who don't have health insurance and can't afford it, there is no fine or "tax". For the remainder who refuse to get health insurance but can afford it, you freeloaders will have to pay 1% of your income, because the rest of us have to pick up your tab when you use medical services, and you will.

    By not asking people to contribute to their healthcare, the GOP is supporting freeloaders, just like they support corporate freeloaders through oil subsidies, loose bank regulations that inevitably lead to bailouts, loose environmental regulations that lead to high healthcare costs, etc. Democrats are the real party of fiscal responsibility.

    July 7, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. NudeTruth

    " Obama nodded and said 'there still work to be done' " great observation there chief numb nuts it's like you didn't have 4 years to do something constructive.

    July 7, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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