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. Chuck

    Sometimes you need a Jimmy Carter in order to get a Ronald Reagan

    July 6, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Bill

    I think that Obama really thinks the economy and the private sector are doing fine!! Obama is nice and likeable person who attracts poor, women, guys, Latino, and most of the sensitive and naive people. That's not bad thing. Now, the biggest problem is that luck of background, executive experience and leadership are playing a central role in not leading him achieve his economic/job promises. The choice facing the American people is whether saying its fine, we like the president and we don't need more and better jobs, or elect Romney and treat him based on his first term performance.
    Personally I like Obama more than Romney, but I am certain that Romney would be much better President for America

    July 6, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Corey

    So basically Romney is saying it is bad policies that lead to job growth? While 80,000 isn't so good, it isn't so bad. It is better than losing jobs. Since ADP reported something like 160,000 jobs, that must mean part time. All these teenagers and college students are coming into the market for summer jobs and taking away from the unemployed who want permanent jobs. It is cheaper to hire people part time with no benefits than full time employees. Especially when there is such a large supply of labor in the summer.

    July 6, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Andy

    "For those who say Gov. Romney hasn't been specific enough or bold enough, I just don't think that's fair. He's got the most detailed, specific, and I think bold proposals by any benchmark," Pawlenty said on Fox News," – What are they Pawlenty? All I hear is repeal Obamacare and the economy stinks and Obama is not working. I have not heard one specific solution. GOP is def not the party of innovation, rather a party of immature adults.

    July 6, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. PresidentMitt2012

    Obama and his on the job training has to end.

    July 6, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I find it ironic that for three and a half years the GOP has been stressing LESS government but every time you turn around, they are accusing the President of not creating MORE jobs! So how does LESS government lead to MORE jobs? let's face it, bailing out our Auto industry was MORE government that led to the creation of JOBS! Passage of the 2009 Stimulus Package was MORE government that preserved jobs in state and local government and in the private sector and led to the creation of jobs! Passage of the 2010 Tax Relief, Unemployment and Jobs Creation bills was MORE government that created more jobs and helped to stabilize the fragile economy and help Americans put food on the table and maintain a roof over their families heads while they looked for work. In the midst of an economic crisis, LESS government doesn't help MORE Americans!

    July 6, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Jerry

    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?
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    For the same reason Mr. Obama uses expensive Canadian motor coaches (2) paid for by the American taxpayers to the tune of over half a million dollars each. At least Mr. Romney is using a rental motor coach for which his campaign is picking up the tab.

    if you must know, I am a life-long Democrat, but I despise all the lying and smoke and mirrors used by my fellow Democrats.

    July 6, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    @Fair is Fair wrote:

    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.
    ---------------------–
    Did you forget about Sen. Joe Lieberman? Democrats did not have a 60 vote majority for two years.
    Are you saying that the ACA passed with 60 votes, not reconciliation, mandate and all? Sounds like you are.

    July 6, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. The Film Professor

    I think it is just amazingly hypocritical of the GOP to use their control of the House to block every single Obama economic initiative, and then to claim that the economy stinks because Obama has no "plan", We are frankly lucky to be where we are with this economy, with this kind of totally dug in opposition. Obama inherited the biggest mess since the 1929 depression, which took more than a decade to fix. I have heard NOTHING from the Republicans to indicate that they would do ANYTHING other than more tax cuts and more loosening of regulations -- are people REALLY dumb enough to think that these proven policy failures will somehow miraculously work if we put the GOP back in control?????

    July 6, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Bobington

    80,000 jobs when job creation should be up because of summer jobs and positions is actually worse than it sounds.

    July 6, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    To quote the esteemed Judge Judy...."Don't pee on my leg and tell me it is raining" Mr. President....

    July 6, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. One Good Flush Should Do It

    GOP started a forrest fire.
    When Obama went to put it out, they cut off the water.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    July 6, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Expat American

    The Republicans have chosen to obstruct any change as a means to disavow any responsibility for what they did to this country and the world abroad for 8 years. It’s also a means of survival, in which they are operating in a small window of time in the hopes that they will win the White House and blame Bush’s and their failures after the SS Regime of Bush/Cheney on President Obama.

    In other words: Middle Class folks can feed their children and take care of the elderly parents = White Republicans Lose

    July 6, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. jsmoulder

    If Obama is re-elected this is what he will be saying four years from now. "It's still tough out there,"

    July 6, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Sirned

    Mitt in 1993 set up an office in China. The sole purpose for this office was to help clients that wanted help in outsourcing and setting up companies in China.....That's why is considered a pioneer in outsourcing. Yep, he got rich making others in this country poor. Every company he touched he sucked the money out of them and left them to figure out a way forward and that includes staples. Staples was created long after Mitt was gone..No way would I ever consider voting for Romney.

    July 6, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ Bill

    If Mitt Romney was to be President, his job would be a whole lot easier than President Obama's simply because he wouldn't have inherited the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression, he wouldn't have inherited two wars and he wouldn't have to deal with a divided congress who's wish is to see that he and America fail! Inspie of what President Obama has inherited, he has done an exceptional job is stabilizing our economy, preserving jobs, creating jobs, ending the Iraqi war, winding down the Afghan war (both wars costing us 5 trillion dollars and counting), improving our national security and global security by getting rid of some of the world's most dangerous terrorists and restoring our image and trust abroad and so on!

    July 6, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Chuk

    Romney has no credibility. He is a say-anything-to-be-elected-president person; can't be trusted.

    July 6, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. W

    Adding 80K jobs a month is better than losing 4-500K a month as The Economy did under Bush. The fact that the number is a Positive number should be significant enough given the contraints placed on this admin. Those are coming from the right who have done everything they can to tank The Economy and make it look bad. The bottom line is that there are lots of 1% ERS who have made a Killing in The Economy over the last couple of years. If you are too stupid to see that the right only cares about saving face from allowing a Black Man to win the White House on their watch.......they have tried there best but the Prez just keeps plugging along and continues to make things happen.

    July 6, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Bob

    Corey.

    80,000 is not in the right direction. You need over 100,000 a month to keep up with population growth. So yeah, it's bad.

    July 6, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ----------------–
    Don't you understand how the Great Recession got its' name? Past recessions have hait primarily one sector of the economy: automakers, airlines, housing, mortgages. Of course there were ripples into other segments of the economy, but every past recession has been focused on primarily on one sector of the economy. The unaffected sectors led the economy out of recession and into a sustained growth phase. (WE also had help. More on that in a minute.)

    The Great Recession hit across the board, across every sector, with equal impunity. Every major sector was hit hard. Airlines were hurting from decreased travel and high fuel prices. The automakers were hit in much the same way. Housing prices rose to artificially high prices until no one could afford them, and those foolish to buy overpriced homes did so on mortgages they couldn't afford over the long run. Wall Street banks collapsed, Everything was in free fall.

    About that help we had in the past, though. During Reagan's self-inflicted recessions in the 1980s we had the personal computer boom, the cable tv boom, and the overnight delivery boom, which worked in tandem to lift us out. During the 1990s we had the world wide web and the internet. Computer sales and high tech gadgets that were made in the USA sustained us and pulled us out of recessions.

    What industry to we have to rely on now to pull us out? The only feasible one over the short term is the automative industry. That is why the automative bailout was so important. We are losing the green energy race to China.

    July 6, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. One Good Flush Should Do It

    Republicans:

    Bush – 8 years to destroy economy (Chrickets)
    Obama – 4 years to fix it (Aint fast enough, Fire him.)

    Fools keep doing the same thing over and over, and expect different results.

    Obama 2012.

    July 6, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Hank

    Obama hasn't learn how to be President in 3.5 years. Time for someone new.

    July 6, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. kp3205s

    Can't watch ADP numbers since they also include everything based on the companies that use their services. Bureau of Labor Statistics is the end all number America worries about.

    What isn't mentioned is that 37,551 jobs were cut in June which means the net gain was only 42,449 jobs for June. The country needs to produce 125k jobs a month just to keep pace with the growth of the working-age population in America. Now add to that the jobs that need to be made up for those unemployed.

    The unemployment rate is still 0.9 percentage points worse today than it was during President Bush’s last full month in office, and it is 0.4 percentage points worse than when President Obama first entered office.

    July 6, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. middle of the road

    This country is full of bush league leaders and followers. You all either jump off the left side of the cliff or the right. Who cares about Rove and what he thinks just like Obama. The fact is both administrations are inept and the next one will be as well. They are just inept in different ways. Rove is back to his scare tactics as Obama continues to promise hope and prosperity and fails to come through. The problem is both sides are delusional and so are those that continue to follow. You all act like you care but all you care about is being right.

    July 6, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. ge

    if romney and the other job shippers ,didnt send jobs overseas ,there would be no unemployment problem,

    July 6, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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