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. Laura, Boston


    What Obama isn;t saying but should be

    "Read my lip, no new taxes except the huge amount I have already given you from the stimulus, my wonderful Affordable Care Act (which isn't really affordable wink wink), Letting you pay for Michelle to go to Spain with friends, my daugher to go to Mexico with her class and lots of secret service, us as a family hitting Hawaii what 4 times as well as Martha's Vineyard, my entertainment of celebraties in the WH just to name a few". Don't worry we'll get the 1% you know those small business owners and rich folks like me to pay for it all! (another wink, wink, wink)!!!

    July 6, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Jewels

    Investment Advisor
    No response neccessary.... Same old made up remarks regarding Bain...look into the facts, the REAL facts, not what Axlerod is pushing. He's starting to stutter more than usual.

    Investor - I believe many of us have seen the truth and know what is for the better of a nation. Your little smooth-talking line doesn't erase the truth of what Mitt is known for.

    July 6, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Four and The Door

    4 More Years!!!
    Obama/Biden for re-election in 2012!!!
    ...because you enjoy watching the demise of a great nation by its own government?!?! What, is it the entertainment value of intense failure that gives you pleasure? No thanks. We have seen enough. Let's get to work fixing this mess.
    Romney 2012.

    July 6, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Hindsight 20/20

    Obama knows how it is to start from the bottom because he had to work to get to where he is. He understands the middle class. Romney is clueless and would not know how to even begin to help average people. His life is about car elevators & beach front homes and outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.

    July 6, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. dorothy

    suggestions of roadside bombs; those people need to be in jail; that kind of language is not accepted in this country!!

    July 6, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Captain James T Kirk

    I am a republican,I never left the party the party left me!!I do not care for Mit Romney. I will vote for President Obama!!

    Obama Biden 2012

    July 6, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. dorothy

    President Obama is the best yet; and the best is yet to come in the next four (4) years!

    July 6, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Madrep

    @ Hindsight Obama never held a job in his life until you nut jobs voted him POTUS! What are you drinking?

    @ Laura...get your family and friends, and I will get mine and let's vote this loser out in November!

    July 6, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Norm

    Its amusing to hear all the complaints about Obama...finish off with Romney 2012...but there has not been one plan from the Romney campaign to offer solutions to the issues.
    Just anti-Obama rhetoric.
    McCain ran his campaign the same way in 2008 and we all know the results of that.
    It appears the GOP can't or won't learn from their past mistakes.
    Anyone who wants another George Bush presidency....vote Romney in November.

    July 6, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Madrep

    Let's see...umm..that's right, go to the coal belt and tell them how your EPA buddies are putting them out of work with your ridiculous rules and mandates on coal fired plants. Good job and good luck! Coal is all these people know and have known for years and now your going to preach jobs! This dude is way out of touch!! 4 and the Door!

    July 6, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. dgt

    whether Romney raise billions for his campaign we are for the great OBAMA. we will vote for OBAMA. money can"t buy my vote and that of my children. GO OBAMA WE LOVE YOU. YOU WILL WIM

    July 6, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. givemea break

    Has Romney actually come out with a recovery plan? I haven't heard one yet.

    July 6, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. W l jones jones

    You mean the the president eat Grits !BOy !he know what a good old down home meal taste like ...good good for him now he can taken on the world problem. Bless.

    July 6, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Chicago

    Barry, time to come home to Chicago. Things did not work out in DC as you hoped.

    July 6, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Ronincalif

    Keep the lie mobile rolling.

    July 6, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "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%."

    "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%. "

    EDGE? SLIGHT? 9% and 6% are large and outside of the statistical margin of error and you call them an "edge" and "slight"? Hahahahaha. Boy do the GOPers/Teatrolls owe you more thanks than they'll ever be wililng to admit.

    July 6, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "@ Hindsight Obama never held a job in his life until you nut jobs voted him POTUS! What are you drinking?"

    Except, you know, he did......and some quite nice and high profile...including 8 years as a state legislator in IL. Whatever helps you sleep at night though, I suppose.

    July 6, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Investment Advisor

    @ Jewels.. Please tell me the truth...and not about things in general, lets be specific! Focus on Bain Capital ONLY......site some specifics that my "smooth-talking" is glossing over. Please!

    July 6, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Remember the time when Romney was down in New Orleans, I guess it was, and he announced to the crowd that he had tried some grits "with things in it" for breakfast. (Those "things" were probably shrimp.) And then he gaffed out loud, "I feel strange."

    July 6, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  20. Martin

    American workers build better products than everyone else?

    He's in dreamland on this quote, I'm afraid.

    July 6, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Yes We Will

    Yes we going to elect president Obama 4 more years.
    We love you president Obama

    July 6, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Investment Advisor

    @Rudyyyyy...Can't say I remember that time.

    July 6, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    American workers build better products than everyone else?

    He's in dreamland on this quote, I'm afraid.
    No, he is pretty much correct on this point. And the other thing you may not believe but it is true is that America is still the worldwide largest manufacturing economy by far, probably still better than 30% larger than No. 2 ( China ). America is a manufacturing powerhouse. But the trend is working against us. This is what we need to respond to. Saddling American companies with higher tax burdens is a great help to all of our competitors. Not smart at all.

    July 6, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. America

    Surprised Obama is not at the border in Arizona handing out "get out of jail free cards" to all the illegals as they cross into the USA. Gotta keep those future Democratic voters happy you know!!!!

    July 6, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Sagebrush Shorty

    Take a trip back to Washington Mr. President and take some responsibility for the miserable economy. You are quick to take credit but slow to to accept blame.

    July 6, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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