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. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    When you have companies like Honeywell and GE sitting on billions of dollars in cash reserves, and not using them to add people or manufacturing equipment in the US, that does not help jobs or production numbers. Companies like that are hesitant about hiring people due to the soft economy, but at the same time the economy is so soft because of companies being hesitant to hire.
    Once these guys get their HR departments to start hiring again, then you will have people with the resources to start doing major consumer purchases again.

    July 6, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. zzzzz

    It is much easier to destroy than rebuild.
    President Obama is expected to fix GOPs 8 years worth of mess in 1/2 term (2009-2010), and no help after that from GOP congress or filibusterers in Senate. Notice that from 2001 to 2008, the USA GDP as part of world GDP declined every year.
    Keep on listening to the Karl Rowe, Glenn Beck, etc.., that have only a high school diploma, and expect greatness. The destruction of the USA will continue with their hate for gvmt, which is representation of "we the people", and not the "corporation" ; which are "people", as Romney said, and GOP opinion.
    A weak USA gvmt will only result in weak USA as time goes.

    July 6, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. chuck weidemann

    So does anyone really belive if Romney were to win we would have jobs hanging off trees. How long do you think Romney would say he needs to reverse the bad policies of the last administration??? There are no quick fixes....never has been!!! Positive job growth is just that....keep going forward no time to reverse and lose 3 years of building a solid foundation for the working people who have built this country.... I'm not talking about service sector low paying entry level jobs either. Building bridges,ships,cars,roads,trains,heavy-equiptment ....the made in America stuff that had disappeared!!!! Romney will give you small potatoes,we want red meet!!!!

    July 6, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. rs

    I dunno, 2 years of steady job growth after the Republicans flushed away 8 million jobs, 80,000 a month ain't so bad- especially with the GOP doing EVERYTHING they can to gum up the works, it's actually pretty impressive!

    July 6, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Meade21

    IN REALITY.......while there is blame enough to go around to the Libs and Cons....the reality is that it is a world wide issue...economies all around the world are suffering....sometimes you just have to wait out the storm....

    July 6, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. b

    obama screwed the economyup so bad it's going to take at least 3 republican terms to fix.

    July 6, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I could never support any political party that says "they hope the President fails" and then turn around and extend the Bush era taxes for the rich, the 1% and to pour salt in the wound they call it "trickle down economics" knowing damn well nothing "trickles down but water". People we've been had and they're getting rich.

    July 6, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Ken Hoag

    The Recovery will start when Obama loses his job

    July 6, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. rs

    Slightly off-topic- but on last nights' news there was a video sequence of Mr. Romney's stalking bus tour- Anyone notice the Mitsubishi emblem and lettering on the front end of the bus? Why isn't Mr. Romney using an American made bus?

    July 6, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Investment Advisor

    The President is treading water on his way out to sea....Same crap we've heard over and over and over again. We will continue to hear it for the next 4 months as the job scenario moves into fall and winter. Its not going to get better under this administration. And forget the bs about taxing the rich...its nothing but a diversion coming from the "transparent" President that is going to bring this country together. LOL!

    July 6, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Joan

    Didn't the Republicans run on a promise of creating jobs, jobs, jobs in 2010? Well, they got control of the House and since then things have been even bleaker. Where are the jobs they promised? In fact, they have promoted cutting the government sector and jobs which leads to more unemployment. If the President is expected to run on his record, then so should they? It is sad that the Republicans can hardly hide their glee when the jobs reports aren't good. Chicken Little and the media are having a field day today looking at the glass as half empty as usual. However, compared to Europe, the US is doing quite well. The jobs report wasn't good but at least it trended upward slightly and has for three months. That's better than losing 700,000 per month. There were rather positive reports yesterday but of course they got mentioned briefly. When the price of gas was going up it got covered constantly and how it would adversely affect the President's re-election but now that it has gone down, it is rarely mentioned. Why? When the stock market goes down three digits it is Breaking News. When it goes up three digits it is a ticker at the bottom of the screen. Why is the coverage always so much more extensive about negative events but good news is just skimmed over? Public perception is important and the fear and smear tactics unfortunately sometimes work which is disappointing. Pointing out the good things that are happening could actually instill confidence and help the economy. Why isn't that done more often? Just wondering.

    July 6, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Scott

    Lets face it, Obama has no idea how to fix the ecomony. This is beyond his limited knowledge. It takes a business man to fix things, not some small time community organizer. Obama needs to step aside and let a leader like Romney, who has vast business smarts fix things.

    Romney 2012 ( For a secure future and better tomorrow)

    July 6, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. rs

    The GOP's slogan should be "Bailing on America".

    July 6, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. WiredweirdinSF

    As if the economy was not bad enough under the failure of a president we have, it does seem like more people are getting his "nanny state" message. While the economy created 80,000 new jobs, 85,000 people went on disability. Obozo will take care of them. That is his message and that of the democrat liberals. Take care of the dope addicts, welfare frauds and the corrupt union bosses.

    July 6, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. PhlG

    I'd just like to hear what Romney would do to fix this. All he and the R's do is criticize Obama, without coming forth without a concrete measure, plan, or vision to make things better. I honestly don't know where Romney stands on anything. He has no core. None.

    July 6, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Simple Economy is on the right direction.

    July 6, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. HellNoTObama

    Barry had his chance to "fix" the economy and he wants the American people to endure 4 more years of his destructive policies? No way! He should be ashamed and embarrassed to run again. We tried distracting the American people from the economy with his gay marriage flip flop his disasterous healthcare tax....what's the next distraction Barry, a war with Iran? Count on it. Our military is mounting it's forces in the middle east as I write this.

    July 6, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Karl Rove said President Obama has used excuses as to why ecomomic growth has been slow, claiming that the President has said things such as "headwinds from Europe" and " we've had a string of bad luck." But Karl Rove won't be specific and point to all the facts and reasons why economic growth has been slow or why the do nothing Party of NO is solely to be blamed for the economic crisis they created and for the deliberate roadblocks they continue to employ to undermine our economy.

    And as far as the the President's scope on the economy is concerned, like independent economists across the country, I believe what the President has said from day one is that economic growth has been slow because of the dept and severity of the recession to begin with and that job growth will take time as we all know because our economy is linked to the global markets. Furthermore, since President Obama has taken office, he has worked vigorously to get bi-partisan support to create jobs and improve the economy but the GOP and their Tea Party as we all know, have met the President head on, saying they won't work with this administration because they want the President to be a one term President! And it is here where Americans have agreed and the President has pointed out that slow economic growth is the result of the GOP and their tea Party's refusal to support a jobs bill to put Americans back to work. No, those are not excuses, they're hard facts!

    July 6, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. RudyG

    300,000-500,000 jobs per month. That's how many jobs were added after the last great recession. We came out of that recession in two years. No two recessions are alike, but 80,000 per month???
    I'm an independent who voted for Obama, but honestly, he's beginning to sound like a broken record with no idea how to improve the numbers.

    July 6, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Ted Kennedy passed away in August 2009. The Dems did NOT have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate for 2 years. Don't give the liars a free pass."
    ------–
    It took the MA legislature a few months to backtrack the law that the dems put in place requiring a special election to replace Kennedy in favor of the law to allow dem gov Deval Patrick appoint the 60th vote in the person of Sen. Kirk. This provided the dems with the critical 60th vote until the special election (which eventually saw the election of Scott Brown) to take place. In the meantime, that 60th vote allowed what became the so-called ACA to be brought before the full senate. Were it not for those dem shenanigans, the ACA would not be.

    Don't give this liar a free pass with his, at a minimum, misleading propoganda.

    July 6, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. canadian59

    looks like USA is in turmoil ....lacking the common sense approach...spend within you limits....more welfare more taxes = Greece ....advantage China, India, Brazil....healthcare was least of the US's problems when Obama took office....but yet that was what he did first two years ....????? what was more important accomplishing his agenda or the peoples agenda...both parties are clueless but one party that is bent on getting votes by offering welfare programs? .the other on reducing taxes.....The health care system in USA was fine and was not broken...the few that had no healthcare insurance ..the govt... could have extended a separate program me to cover people with mim. income who were unable to afford private ins.but to get the entire country to follow the same ..is a socialistic agenda..well the Liberals won't agree as they have to defend their party even if they feel its wrong... simply because US today is a very divisive country ....??????? even the president said that his AHC was good for America...he did not say United states of America..

    July 6, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Ferret out the BS

    Hank, praying for the economy to get worse so you get a president you want is really part of the problem not just that, it is really sick. Since President Obama was elected the Republican base has done nothing but fight every peice of legislation and program. Why don't you and the rest of your Republican ilk become part of the solution and help the President and much much more would've been accomplished.

    July 6, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Jerry

    "Clueless-in-Chief, you should know!!! You are the biggest contributor to: 'It's still tough out there'. But the Camillian-in-Chief just will NOT accept responsibility. Therefore, lies on top of lies are HIS only solution and copout.

    Mr. President, Americans will not be fooled as easily this time around. Now you have a record. And, from where I stand, that record DOES NOT look good at all.

    Stop the blame game. Be a man. Accept responsibility. Then, maybe then, Americans can start believing in you again.

    One can "Hope and Wish". No?!

    July 6, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Virginia Independent Voter

    The economy (and the stock market) hates uncertainty. And what, may I ask, is causing such uncertainty? The politicians in DC primarily as well as the economy in Europe. No one is going to invest in the economy, or hire people, if there is not some assurance that there will be a reasonable return on their investment. I am absolutely convinced that if the democrats and republicans worked together for the benefit of the people, we would emerge from our financial problems quickly. However, the republicans will not try to reach a compromise because it would improve the economy and make Obama look good for the election. I am thorougly disgusted by all politicans and their ilk, democrats and republicans alike, but I'm primarly disgusted by the Tea Party, their my way or the highway approach to governing, and mainstream republicans who cater to and don't challenge the far right wing of their party. I'm convinced that very few politicians care about the people in the US. Their only concern is their own self interest. The only question I keep asking myself is what happened to my country. We used to care for each other as a people and now we only care about power, greed, and money.

    July 6, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. paul

    One thing the American people don't need right now is a president Romney that will work only for the rich. He has said he will cut taxes on the rich by 100;s of thousands of dollars, which increasing taxes on middle class and the poor to pay for it. He also has said he wants a war with Iran. We don't need another war, we need help for the middle class and that best chance lies with Obama

    July 6, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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