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. Shovel_Ready

    Get ready folks... QE number 4, 5, and maybe 6 is on it's way

    July 6, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Squigman

    Here's a question: Are republicans sabotaging the recovery for political gain? It looks that way. The Romney campaign, constantly dwells on the negative, and would like to give the impression that they have the quick fix to the situation. The bad thing. There are many that will fall for the lies, and discard the truth. Romney's business experience is job exportation, not importation. This is the truth. End of story.

    July 6, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Jayson

    So this is what a recovery looks like? Because I don't consider 2010 like job numbers a recovery of any sort....

    July 6, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. JPM

    Left wing comments are funny. Economic problems now are because of the Republican congress. Economic problems when Bush was in office were his fault not the Democratic congress. Weird how that works.

    July 6, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Alois

    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

    You're commenting on the wrong story. The "deadbeat" is Joe Walsh the tea party useless member of Congress. He too is from Illinois, so I can see how the details may have been too much for you to handle.
    As far as not blaming Bush? Really? That's like saying we can't blame the engineer for a train wreck just because the engineer got ejected from the locomotive during the crash! The resulting mess is still the fault of the engineer.An 8 year mess isn't easy to clean up. Fortunately, nearly all polls indicate that Americans are thinking rationally and lay the blame where it belongs: with W Bush and the GOP.

    July 6, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. shades

    Things are still tough? Thanks captain obvious..

    why dont you do something about it, 3 1/2 years and no end it sight.

    vote this guy out, I mean really.

    July 6, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Rudy replies:

    "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."
    ------–
    OK Captain Semantics... they had 58 dem votes and 2 independents (Sanders, VT and Lieberman, CT) who caucused with the dems. Obama had this margin from Jan 09 through Aug, 09. Kennedy died and Kirk was sworn in in Sept. 09 holding office through Feb. '10. So technically Obama had his 60 votes for a total of almost 13 months... plenty of time to inflict the damage he's done.

    July 6, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair

    Shovel_Ready

    Get ready folks... QE number 4, 5, and maybe 6 is on it's way
    -------
    I pray you're wrong. The US dollar simply could not withstand such a hit.

    July 6, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Shovel_Ready

    We don't use "outsourced" when refering to Prez BHO. We use the new new phrase, "Alternative Employment Opportunity Act". This contains his policies on Foreign Affairs to build up the oppressed continent of Africa "mother country" with our federal tax dollars. Hard working Americans are funding his adventure capital concepts. Except this time, he is too late. China had already made big steps to taking over Africa. China likes cheap labor more than greedy American companies like Walmart, Sears, Macys, and most of the tech industry. We are too late.

    The day BHO considers helping America is when he steps down this coming January 2013.

    July 6, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Dean

    So what should we look for in a president, or any politician? Let’s have someone who loves his country more than himself — who does not need the job to satisfy some internal craving — who has demonstrated leadership and competence in the military and/or private sector — who has a strong core belief system honed through at least two decades of mature thought, experiences, and study — who has enough internal confidence to admit mistakes — who recognizes personal limitations and delegates to wisely chosen people — who compromises but never abandons core principles.
    A president should stop campaigning and start working. A president has to travel and be visible, but trips and visibility owe their value to their scarcity. Keep your butt in the Oval Office chair. I don’t want or need to see our president getting in the way at every natural catastrophe, pardoning turkeys, rolling Easter eggs, attending meaningless conferences, or bowing and scraping to despots.
    A president should understand that government is not the solution; it is the problem. I want a president who understands that his primary job is to keep us safe, and then get out of the way of great American ingenuity. One who understands that free people in a free market is the most powerful economic and military power in the world. I want a president who spends every waking moment finding and removing all the obstacles in our path and all the weight government has put on our shoulders, and then lets us fix things ourselves.”
    The main one would be that the government is not the solution, it is the problem. But in Obama's eyes he wants the government to take care of everyone, make everyone equal thru social programs and taxation. He is also a dirty politician who has failed in his biggest promise that was to have the most transparent admin ever and instead has had meeting and votes in the middle of the night in almost secrecy to advance his agenda.
    Secondly he does not have the experience to be president. The left complained about Palin's lack of experience as being her biggest fault. She has more political and business experience than Obama.
    He has surrounded himself with people who are against the thing America was founded upon from Jeffery Immelt to Van Jones and his worthless school safety czar Kevin Jennings.
    As far as the racist thing, his election was racist. He would have never even been nominated to run had he not been black.

    July 6, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Steve

    My plan is to do everything to make the economy bad so I can blame Obama!!!

    July 6, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Rudy NYC

    Well, If President Obama is sounding like a broken record to you, then you could always vote for Mitt Romney! His record isn't broken, it just flip-flops!

    July 6, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Bill

    The GOP's election theme is "Hey Obama, why haven't you cleaned up the mess we made yet?"

    July 6, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. CoJo

    remember, current congress has not done (or even proposed) solutions. They're single focus is to make obama look back anyway and every they can. In one way I hope Romney does win, as within 6-9 months I'd be peppering the internet about how republicans have made is worse. Remember, they currently state the country cannot afford to increase spending on anything, but yet we already know they will significantly increase military funds. For what reason? Most americans want out the middle east (but the GOP will of course ignore that part). As for health care... assuming they do repeal obamacare, we will be back to health care under Bush's time. We have already heard the GOP agreed the health care system has been broken for years.Yet the GOP did nothing under a republican president and refused to do anything under a democrat president. They did nothing for 11 years (and you wonder where they get the "Do nothing congress" name?). As for religion, Romney and Santorum will push and force people to live their beliefs. Their religious beliefs are the only REAL beliefs. All others are just plain wrong. They cannot do what JFK did and state that their beliefs are their owns period. They will not force their religious beliefs on anyone else. GOP will not make commitment. GOP also feel is American's right to police the world period.

    July 6, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Dan

    If he says, "It's still rough out there" one more time, I'm going to ask him, WHEN do you think it is going to get better. To which he would reply, "Well there is no silver bullet to cure unemployment, but we're doing what we can." To which I would answer, "I want to know the month, date, and year that it will get better. Stop giving me the round-about."

    July 6, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Harry101

    No matter what you think may happen should Romney get elected, you can see and know what the Obama admin. and the Democratics have done the past 3 years.

    July 6, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Barry_the_narcissist

    its all okay....i just need some time......you see there was a tsunami.......no wait it was Greece......no wait it was Congress.......if you just pass my jobs bill........oh wait its voter suppression.......well i gave you health insurance ......romney is an outsourcer......IT WAS BUSH I TELL YOU

    July 6, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Gary

    When is this guy going to GET IT !!! This economy SUCKS and his BS is really getting old!!!
    Obama make a difference and just leave office . The country needs real jobs not more usless campaign talk. This governing group is such a joke but the laughter is over ,get out of the way period !!!

    July 6, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. chill

    Romney is right about one thing, it doesn't have to be this way with unemployment over 8%. If we hadn't turned the Congress over to the GOP and the Tea Party, the various Jobs proposals that Obama offered would have passed and the rate would be dropping. The voters who put these people in in 2010 were more worried about the deficit than jobs and they got what they wished for.

    July 6, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Investment Advisor

    @ Larry L....Alot of grenades tossed there LL. Obviously, President Obama should have gone to the LL school of economics. Its very simple. I'm not on trial here...President Obama is. He wrote a lot of checks to get this job and now they are bouncing! Going deeper and deeper in debt is not the answer to fiscal prosperity. And by the way, Economics has very, very, very little to do with making money for people.....the key is "discipline"......something left wing advocates obviously do not understand. No "bigotry" here....that ploy is lame and seems to get tossed out there alot by liberals. And, finally,logic is another attribute we depend on in this industry.... sooooo...... any more punches I need to block?

    July 6, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Johnny Come Lately

    Look people, for all those of you that think either President Obama or Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney can do any more, it's time you WAKE UP !!!! With a PURE PARTISAN DIVIDED CONGRESS, NOTHING IS GOING TO GET DONE !!!! It is TIME to VOTE ALL THESE CRONIES OUT OF OFFICE !!!! We need the Independent Party to take over the White House and majority in both the House and Senate !!!! Otherwise, we will forever be stuck in a "DO-NOTHING CONGRESSIONAL" environment and the USA will NEVER prosper !!!!

    President Obama can make all the promises he wants. Mitt Romney can also make all the promises he wants. But without a congressional majority to back either one up, nothing, and I DO MEAN NOTHING WILL GET DONE !!!! That's why PROMISES ARE BROKEN !!!! Or haven't you figured that out yet???

    July 6, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Dan

    If he says, "It's still rough out there" one more time, I'm going to ask him, "When do you think it is going to get better?" To which he would reply, "Well there is no silver-bullet to cure unemployment, but we're doing what we can." To which I would answer, "I want to know the month, date, and year that it will get better. Stop giving me the round-about."

    July 6, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Dan

    If he says, "It's still rough out there" one more time, I'm going to ask him, "When do you think it is going to get better?" To which he would reply, "Well there is no magical cure unemployment, but we're doing what we can." To which I would answer, "I want to know the month, date, and year that it will get better. Stop giving me the round-about."

    July 6, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    @Fair is Fair

    Leiberman never really caucused with the Democrats as much as he spied for the conservatives until the liberals finally kicked him out. Joe never liked Obama from the start. Joe was a Hillary supporter, and Joe was an Independent, not a Democrat. Don't forget that.

    I see that it is pointless to debunk conservative claims of a 2 year 60 vote majority. Facts are too easily denied.

    July 6, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Jack

    Larry L

    Yes I can and it was Clinton. He left office where the government spending was only 18% of GDP where this president is at over 25% of GDP. So if you like Clinton, you do not like Obama.

    July 6, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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