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

    Four more years of blaming GWB and the Republican Major House of Representatives and the Tea Party extremist.

    That is DWS and BHO only talking points.

    Bla bla bla bla....

    No new jobs... Face it.... He has no plans. Expect for his union buddies and left wing nut cases.

    July 6, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Bleh1964

    Yeah, Obama and his cronies want to get back to 2007 job levels for middle class so he can tax the hades out of us, that's how he's going to fix the deficit. Vote him out!!!!!

    July 6, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. KM

    Yes, it's still tough out there and our current POTUS has still done nothing substantively to improve the jobs situation. No proposal to ease regulations on businesses, no recommendation to Congress to ease taxes on businesses, just more "hope and change". Focusing exclusively on trying to stimulate public sector jobs DOES NOT stimulate private sector business growth. WAKE UP Mr. President...it's NOT working. In the final anaysis, what we are left with is false hope and no change.

    July 6, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. DC Observer

    ALl I want for Christmas is Term Limits .......... and a new President

    July 6, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Gen.RobtELee

    OBAMA LIED & THE ECONOMY DIED.

    Bet on Romney. He'll turn this Obama Depression into a growing economy.

    Stop sending jobs to China Barrack.

    July 6, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Steve- Illinois

    As he rides around in his bus....Made in Canada! He got something like 300 people to show up? A washed up 60's rock band does better than that! This election will be about one issue, the economy! If it keeps sloogging along, Romney wins, if it shows substantial improvement, Obama wins.

    July 6, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Teleprompter No Spin Zone

    I can harldy wait for Obama to spend $200 million in negative ads telling America how bad Mitt Romney would be as President -–

    I am sick of the spin man and his false hope and total lack of leadership. 4 more years of Obama and we will be back in the Depression years –kiss your house; your job; and your retirement savings goodbye if that happens

    July 6, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. lib

    And you're voting for Mitt Romney. Please, I can't stop laughing!! Anybody believing Mitt can save this country needs to be in an asylum!!! Mitt is selling our country out to the millionaires. He won't be preident, the Koch bothers will be

    July 6, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    The teapublikkans would rather see Americans lose everything just to make the President a one termer than help create jobs. The bishop still doesn't have an answer. He is full of hot stinking air!!!!!
    For the haters, the President has ideas but when the scotus tells us that corporations are people, and the bishop agrees and he tells us he likes tom fire people and the teapublikkans filibuster and stop everything to help us there's no other way but to fire the rethugs in Novembef!!

    July 6, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Investment Advisor

    Good banter..Have a good Weekend!

    July 6, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. gt

    let obama feel some pain of no job like millions of americans,,

    July 6, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. Ex-GOP Con

    Another month of job growth. THAT IS A GOOD THING. The RINOs need to put down the crackpipe.

    July 6, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. GOP hate America

    unemployment would be 6% right now but the government has slashed millions of jobs. So this should make the GOP happier that there is smaller government........right?

    July 6, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    If there is one thing the GOP has made clear in recent years more than ever before it's that they are willing to let the middle class suffer for their own cause. Why would the majority of the country elect such a leader? Like it or not Obama is the only real option this election.

    The tea party fears the GOP will become divided. They are hanging on by their teeth because what other party would the rich 1% to attach to? By 2016 Republicans will either have to better their sentiment with the middle class or some other party will have to replace them.

    July 6, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Steve- Illinois

    Unemployment would be at 10% if so many haven't "gave up" looking for work! Dems call this a recovery?

    July 6, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Wake Up

    Instead of towing the party line and repeating everything your media outlet prints and shouts, why not learn a thing or two about economics and politics? This mess was decades in the making and yes, Bush capped it off with two needless wars that cost us trillions. Do you clowns really think it will take less than four years to fix what it took the last 30 years to create? Are you really that stupid or do you just need someone to point the finger at because you don't know any better?
    Come on people, lose the ignorance just for a moment and take an objective, rational view of the situation.
    Like or hate the man all you want but when Repubs clearly stated that their only objective was to block anything from the president, and things didn't instantly take off running for the better, who was really to blame, the guy who couldn't get anything done because he was being obstructed or the ones who were obstructing him from doing his job?
    Hey, I didn't vote for the man wither and I'm not exactly his biggest fan but from a purely economic standpoint, the approach he is taking is correct. Do some research and see for yourself. These kinds of fixes take time.
    I'm not ignorant to the public manipulation from political and media marriages and it really angers me to see how some people are. Open your eyes and think for yourself instead of letting those who don't give a rat's a55 about you pull your strings with hate and fear.

    July 6, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Loop

    Middle Class and now unemployed for four months. Had a job for 26 years before Obama's Regulations took my job. Vote the bum out. The private Sector is doing fine, yeah right. He believes the Public Sector is hurting, well it takes five private sector jobs to pay for one public sector job. Guess which needs fixing first or the Country will go Bankrupt.

    July 6, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. marty

    If Obama is so bad, such a failure, then the Republicans should get off the NO train and let Congress pass his jobs bill immediately for all the world watch him "fail".
    It's put up or shut up for the GOP.

    July 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Steve- Illinois

    His "jobs bill" already failed to the tune of $800+ billion dollars! Giving a spend a holic a fresh credit card is a dense way to prove a point!
    "Those shovel ready jobs weren't as shovel ready as we thought. heh, heh." Barack Obama

    July 6, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Alois

    'It's still tough out there' . All thnks to you obama ya deadbeat. 4 years and millions of taxpayer dollars squanderd on bankrupt companies and unions in return for campaign donations and still no major increase in jobs. The unemployment rate climing to 8.2% .The deficit is at the highest in our history and most likely the most corrupt administration in Americas history. And no, It's not Bushes fault , It's not the republicans fault ,It's loser obama's and his corrupt administrations fault .Face it ,Deadbeat obama and his super corrupt administration are a huge failure,period.

    July 6, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Larry L

    @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.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Clinton never faced a recession like the one left behind by Dubya. You're also pretending the difference between 18 and 25% of GDP is the factor that means Clinton didn't spend his way out of a recession. When GDP is as low as when Obama took the reins, any spending would be reflected as a higher percentage. Nice try but this sort of logic will only work on the Fox News crowd.

    July 6, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. paulr50

    80,000 jobs gained while 85,000 went on disability. Yup, that work out well for the Prez. People are waking up from this guys lies everyday. He should be a big dissappointment to the black community. Even Martin Luther King and Malcolm X would be disappointed or even embarrased for this guy.

    July 6, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. Smerlap Kent, WA

    When Bill Clinton left office we had a surplus of $1.2 trillion and had just created 25 million new jobs. When GW Buish left office he had financed two wars on our credit cards, given the wealthy all of the $1.2 trillion in tax cuts, destroyed the regulatory system which led to the bank and econmic collapse in 2008. When Bush left office he had a net job loss of 3.5 million jobs. In teh months before Obama took office with a lame Duck GOP President and Congress we were losing 700,000 jobs per month. The President inherited an economy on the brink of depression and with this stimulus kept it from falling off the cliff. Romney is promising BIGGER TAX CUTs for the rich, paid for with HUGE cuts in services for the poor and middle class. If Romney is elected the next Great Depression is imminent. Those who fail to learn from history doom the rest of us who are paying attention.

    July 6, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. blake

    Duh! Yes it is tough with a 14.9% U-6 unemployment rate (the number never quoted by the Obama administration or the leftist media that support him). Socialism doesn't work Mr. Obama.

    July 6, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Larry L

    @Investment Advisor

    @President Obama 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?
    ------------------------------------------------
    Nothing you said makes any sense. Economics has a great deal to do with people making money. People without jobs do not make money. When have we ended a deep recession without using government spending to stimulate the job market and the economy?

    If you believe bigotry isn't a part of the conservative movement I'll refer you to the photographs of the Tea Party rallies – with racist signs and slogans everywhere. Heard the term "Obammie"? Anybody use the name "Hussein"? To believe otherwise is delusional.

    And last... I'm aware that logic is a critical part of a real investment adviser's tool kit... I'm simply saying your comments show a complete lack of that capability. If you actually had any customers I'm certain they'd be shocked by your lack of economic awareness.

    July 6, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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