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. ansh

    sounds great

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

    if coal is all they know maybe they need a education system

    July 6, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Leslie

    It takes time to rebuild what was destroyed. Jobs won't return in just 3, 6 or 9 months. You can't compare where we as a country are going to where we have been. The global economy has a much greater impact on our national economy than it used to. We can't just cut spending. We have to change where money is being spent. We have to spend in areas that will produce a benefit to us. Remember, Romney was not a fiscal manager, he was a hatchet man. If a copy is in trouble, a hatchet man will slash splending and labor to make the company look more profitable. But that is only temporary. Innovation is what drives true growth in a company and you can't innovate without spending.

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

    I'm reminded of the last time I played golf. Every time I hit a lousy shot that fell short, my buddy would say, "well, we're going that way."
    I guess my point is that I'd rather play a lousy round with Barack than caddy for Mitt.

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

    When the bill comes due for all the SuperPAC donors, do you think Romney is going to be concerned about the working stiff? Corporations are people, my friend...

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

    To get elected the GOP have to sign a pledge not to raise taxes on the very rich. They have sold their souls to Grover Norquist. They have demonstrated that they will let the USA go into the toilet if they don't get to keep the tax breaks for the 1%. They have done all they can to make sure our economy does not improve before the 2012 election. And they have been rewarded with money, money, money from the 1%. And then we hear from Mitch McConnell that it is un-American to require disclosure of where the money is coming from! Even Huntsman & Jeb Bush acknowlege that the GOP has been hijacked.

    July 6, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Someone should ask Willard: If corporations are people too, why isn't he (Willard) in jail for his multiple killings?

    July 6, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Yes We Will

    What job plan the republican have for us. Why Boehner and the republican have not pass any job bills.
    Boehner is stopping america to get jobs he whether have them outsource just like Romney.
    Stopping blameing Obama for everything the republican stopping him to do his job.

    July 6, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. brian

    his campaign sign says it all–"betting on America"–he is clearly counting on those fools who voted for him in the first election. he must be laughing at the voting public–pathetic

    July 6, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Sagebrush Shorty

    Well Mr. Obama, you sure are quick to take credit for anything ,so let's see you accept some blame for a change. It can't be George Bush's fault forever.

    July 6, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Investment Advisor

    @ Virginia Independent Voter...Good blog. I agree with you but the tpartiers were sent to Congress to stop the taxation and force this administration to control its spending... president Obamas jobs bill promotes more gov't spending and the republicans have said "no" enough is enough . Put a bill on the table that does not put this country deeper in debt, promotes jobs and does not expand gov't.

    July 6, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Jim

    Romney says this was "a kick in the gut". The real kick in the gut was at the end of 2008 and start of 2009 when we were "Losing" many 100's of thousands of jobs each and every month. That is hard to recover from and we know that from the great depression. Obama of course did not know the full aspect of just how bad things were and were going to get when he took office. Bush was in total denial that we even had a problem until it was here. I think he was badly informed by his aides as I remember on more than one occasion a reporter would ask him about reports of bad times coming upon us and he said with a chuckle he had not heard any such forecast and they came true and were bigger than ever imagined or predicted.
    Now if Romney really wants to see America start recovering from this very slow jobs increase then tel his buddies in congress to act on legislation and ideas presented in congress and stop adding ridiculous measures or fillabustering and get these things passed and we can have real jobs and economic growth.
    Problem is that if congress acted in the best interest of the people they serve this would hurt Romney's campaign so they are willing to let the American people continue to suffer and spend billions on a campaign that could be spent more wisely to try and win and buy an election.
    Wake up people as these people need to go and get a congress that does the work for and of the American people.

    July 6, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Larry L

    @Chuck

    Sometimes you need a Jimmy Carter in order to get a Ronald Reagan
    ----------------------------------------------
    Sometimes you need a Barrack Obama to fix the stinking mess left behind by a George W. Bush.

    July 6, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. zisee

    It's tought alright O because you haven't and will not do anything to help, only make it worse.

    July 6, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Scott S.

    If you consider that we were losing 700,000 jobs per month when Obama entered office, an 80,000 job increase isn't too bad. You can tell people to stop blaming Bush all you want, but the evidence supports the fact that Bush's policies left us with a disaster that Obama has had the un-enviable task of cleaning up. Massive tax cuts for the rich and unfunded war played a nice role in screwing up our economy and concentrating the money. The rich have seen their income skyrocket in the last decade, over 70%. The rest of us? Hardly 1%. I'm not blaming the rich, nor do I hate them for being rich, although I'm not too fond of the way they've been buying off our government. But the trend over the last decade or so has been that the money has been leaving the country, and the jobs right along with it, which is entirely contrary to what is promised if taxes are cut. For me, Mitt Romney represents that sector of the country that has soaked up the money and sent it off to foreign countries in offshore bank accounts, or whatever else.

    Here's the lesson of the day...the economy revolves around the circulation of money. If money is only really circulating about 1% of the population, and most of that money is sent offshore, what happens to the economy? The economy does well when people have a bit more money in their pockets because they SPEND IT. They'll buy a new car, probably one built here in the U.S. They'll buy coffee at a local coffee shop, use the local dry cleaner. Even if they shop at the Target up the street, the money is still circulating within the community. I'm not saying "penalize the rich." But it's become apparent, at least to me, that the game is very much rigged. Maybe some leveling of the playing field is in order.

    July 6, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. toyoc

    Government can't create jobs, it can only drive them away.

    July 6, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. mrpopular

    I think "disappointing growth" pretty much sums up the Obama presidency.

    July 6, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Rudy says:

    "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."
    ------
    First things first. It took 60 votes to get the senate version of the ACA out of comittee and on to the senate floor. Appointed Sen. Kirk provided that 60th vote. It was at that point the full senate voted and passed their version of the ACA. Without that vote, NOTHING was coming out of the senate, and there would be no ACA.

    The bill was quite different from th house version, but Obama and Reid convinced Pelosi to take up and pass the senate version, with those provisions which could be modified by reconciliation to do so.

    Appointed sen. Kirk provided the key 60th vote to get the bill to the full senate floor. With respect to Lieberman... he caucuses with the dems – but I'm sure you know that.

    Now Rudy... I'm certain you know what I've said here is 100% accurate... so don't go trying to pretend you don't.

    July 6, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Larry

    I can't believe anybody thinks Obama is actually helping the country. Spending government money to create jobs is like paying your spouse for housework and counting it as income. The government (both parties) has GOT to get out of the way of private business and let things correct themselves. A friend of mine had a neighbor that developed a portable kitchen that hooks up to a trailer hitch (nice product) and had to get it manufactured in China because of all the American government regulations, permits, etc. It was simply too expensive to build in the USA. Sad.

    July 6, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Coflyboy

    Republican behavior over the past decade has been deplorable. I am baffled they still deny any wrongdoing, continue to work against the administration's efforts to fix the problems they have caused, and continue to blame Obama for everything. Republicans are usually stinking rich and therefore totally disconnected from real-world-majority-middle-class America. Middle-class America voting Romney is like chickens voting Colonel Saunders.
    The only way a republican candidate could get my vote is to stop blaming and start working... WITH the Obama administration, to move this country forward and out of the deep recession they have caused.

    July 6, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Bobington pointed out:

    80,000 jobs when job creation should be up because of summer jobs and positions is actually worse than it sounds.
    -------------------
    Never heard of seasonlly adjusted, huh?

    They have called the Bush Recession the Great Recession for a reason. It was the most severe economic downturn this country has seen since the Great Depression. Prevous recession have hit mostly one sector of the economy, and we have rebounded back with help from new products and innovations. The Great Bush Recession hit across all sectors of the economy. This time there is no PC boom like we had in the 1980s to bring us out. This time there is not internet boom like we had in the 1990s to bring us out. This time there is no new innovation coming form US manufacturers to bring us out. The best we have is the US auto industry, that's all folks.

    July 6, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. lance

    if obama would halt immigration to this country americans would have a few more jobs to work at. obama and the liberals let in more immigrants to compete with american workers for the trickle of jobs that are out there.

    July 6, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. D50

    Reagan inherited a far worse economy than Obama, and 3 1/2 years into his first term we were generating 600,000 new jobs a month.

    July 6, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Guest

    Remember he said "everything is fine." I turn the channel when his lying face comes on.

    July 6, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. 2012liberal

    Jobs will b stable till election. Private sector has hired all it will and congress wont allow public jobs 2 cm back. Obama wins n nov big tick up. Romney s..t hits fan and big fall n everything. Mark my words!

    July 6, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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