(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%.
Wow, it's still tough out there..thanks Captain Obvious. For all the people still apologizing for him and talking about how bad a card he was handed..fact, he's been President for over 3 1/2 years now and that's more then enough time to make things happen. Fact, of those 21 straight month of job growth, only 8 of those months did the rate of growth equal enough to balance the growth of new people entering the workforce. He's not doing enough and his "plans" aren't working. Food for thought..if you started a new job and after 3 1/2 years of work you were still blaming the person you replaced and things weren't much better..would you still be employed. The answer is no and he should hold him to the same standard.
I find it hilarious how the GOP's entire election theme is based upon Obama not getting us out of the Great Depression II created by the last GOP president/congress fast enough
Our President has the right vision for America but the Grand Obstructionist Party won't let it come to fruition even though they've agreed with some of the ideas in the past. Their goal to make Obama a one termer outweighs any effort to help the American people. Mitt can't hold a candle to President Obama and one thing's for sure, you'll never hear Mitt saying his taxes should be raised like President Obama does. President Obama is for the 99% and if he doesn't get a 2nd term we can say goodbye to the middle class for sure. FORWARD 2012!
In 2000 Republicans told me to hand over my money to JOB CREATORS.
In 2000 Republicans told me to get out of the way while they deregulate everything.
In 2007 after
2 tax cuts
Deregulation in full swing for Wall Street
Deregulation in full swing for mining
THE CARDS STARTED TO CRUMBLE
in 2012...After a 3rd tax cut we have
A Housing market that crashed
Wall Street that crashed but got bailed
Chinese, Mexicans and Phillippinos doing the jobs AMERICANS used to do
AM I WRONG TO ASK REPUBLICANS FOR MY MONEY BACK?
When I voted for President Obama, I didn't vote for a Messiah or a miracle worker. I voted for a man who would do the best that he can and I am not disappointed in the president. I am however disappointed in the GOP who have sold out our country for their own greed. I pray that the majority of Americans will see that also and vote in a congress that will work for this wonderful hardworking president and his decent family. This is a family that knows about the American Dream. Obama/Biden 2012
This man is a real mad man, from the drones to to the radiating our privates at the air ports. Vote lib before the mad man DESTROYS all that is sacred in the U.S
And your still going to get realected!! It just shows how bad the republican bafoon party has become and what a loser canadate the bafoons picked in romnycare the clown ,vote all Dem,I am!!!!
@ Larry L....In 2008 Candidate BO was damn sure he would turn this thing around in 4 years. As we see now he wasn't right but never in doubt. Today we are hearing the same stump speech and you expect us to "Bet on America" by way of him? You know the saying, " fool us once, shame on us, fool us twice......." That Dog don't hunt.
Much like a sports team that is losing or not improving the US economy is losing and or not recovering quickly enough. You do-not "fire " the whole team,so you "fire " the coach who isn't getting the job accomplished even if it isn't solely his fault. Fire the coach in November. Bring in some new ideas.
Much like a sports team that is losing or not improving, the US economy is losing and or not recovering quickly enough. You do-not "fire " the whole team,so you "fire " the coach who isn't getting the job accomplished even if it isn't solely his fault. Fire the coach in November. Bring in some new ideas.
But the private sector is doing fine and I need all of you to keep drinking the Kool Aid I am giving you.
Deadbeat obama doesn't have what it takes to lead our country and in the past 4 years loser obama has proven to be a failure. Can't blame Bush any longer.Loser obama couldn't fix our economy if he had 100 years.Time for Deadbeat obama and his super corrupt administration to be removed.
Where are the jobs bills ???? The president does not make the jobs bills congress does ! The president signs the jobs bills as long as they are not at the expence of the working class who needs the jobs. Who is running the HOUSE ? The GOP is ! Who does not want the economy to turn around before the election ? The GOP does ! So why are we voting these do nothing people in ? Come on people !!!!!!
It took bush and the republican bafoon party 8 years to tank the economy and we can give president Obama 8yesrs to fix it ,in spite of the Gop bafoon party trying to throw a wet blanket over any attempt to make progress .republican bafoons will be lucky to get in the white house by 3012!!!!!!!!
I agree with you 100% I have been telling everyone I know this same thing because the Repulicans will do everything they can to keep hiring low until after the election. That is their game plan, hoping it will get Obama out of office. Once the election is over, unemployment will decrease drastically.
It is only July. Hope people don't get so fed up with hearing from the candidates that they fail to vote in November. The gods forbid that Romney is elected. He scares me with his cutting taxes on the rich and war-mongering talk. Give Obama another 4 years and elect some Progressive dmocrats to congress so something can get done.
@Fair is Fair
I have not disputed how the vote was taken, nor who voted which way. I've disputed the ongoing lie about Democrats having had a 60 vote Senate majority for two years. There were never "60 Democratic votes" under Pres. Obama. The liberals were able to put together a 60 vote bloc on a number of issues, but there was never at any time a "60 vote Democratic majority", and most certainly not for two years. The existence of Scott Brown debunks that idea without even trying.
"Obama and his on the job training has to end."
Ridiculous statement as any person becoming the President for the first time will have on the job training. Mitt has been running for President for over six years and still has no specific plans or answers for any of our problems. He is a puppet for the 1% and, like Grover Norquist said, they only need someone that can sign off on all the things the Repubs want. Can American afford that? Do we really want an administration that will be even worse than the Bush/Cheney regime??
You claim to be an investment adviser... With the trajectory and momentum of the economic curve in 2008, do you actually believe it possible to turn around an economy in even four years? That is your professional viewpoint? How about with the Republicans actively working to prevent recovery?
If your answer is yes your are either an investment "advisor" who has no background in economics or a delusional right-winger who can't overcome bigotry and allow logic to form your thoughts.
Love how the liberals just eat up and regurgitate the baseless talking points. How about coming up with an original idea or thought once in awhile. That being said......
If anyone buys BO's BS again during this election campaign they deserve exactly what they get. A vote for president is basically a vote to determine who the next SOTUS nominee is. Pick wisely.
The real votes matter in the Congressional and Senate races. We all saw how the Democratic majority turned out.
Put in an opposing majority and then things will get done. Until there is a balance of power it will be the same old stuff.
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.
Can you name a time in American history when we recovered from a recession without using federal dollars to stimulate the economy? Don't say Reagan – he spent like a drunken sailor.
"If Obama is re-elected this is what he will be saying four years from now. "It's still tough out there,""
Not if we give him a Congress that will work with him. Get the Tea Party and the right wingers out of Congress...vote Democrat all the way in 2012.
The Junior Senator from Illinios, the inexperienced ptesident ever to be elected has spoken such wisdom.
He may have to consider which "Shovel Ready" job he will have to find after the inauguration day for Mitt Romney this ccoming January.
He may not be qialified to shovel anything, but that hasn't prevented him so far in life.
The U.S. economy remains in shambles and a relentless unemployment crisis grips the nation yet the Obama Administration is giving away $20 million for an innovative green energy venture in Africa.
Clinton asserted that clean energy will bring Africans new jobs, create new livelihoods, support education, new businesses, healthier and more productive lives. ----------
Yea boy. But what about jobs in Indiana? And people talk about Romney outsourcing jobs.....Obama creates new industries in other countries.