(CNN) - Friday's jobs report showing an uptick in the nation's unemployment rate offered presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney an opportunity to blast President Barack Obama for his economic policies, though the unexpectedly high number of jobs created in July gave Democrats a shield against GOP critics.
With three monthly jobs reports remaining until November's general election, Romney sought to capitalize on the rising unemployment rate, writing the jump from 8.2% to 8.3% was a "hammer blow to struggling middle-class families."
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with twelve million new jobs created by the end of my first term," Romney promised in a statement sent shortly after the July jobs report was released.
Both Obama and Romney have events scheduled for 11:45 a.m. ET, where each candidate will likely address Friday's jobs numbers.
Capitalizing on a remark the president made in June, Romney wrote that Obama "doesn't have a plan and believes that the private sector is 'doing fine.'"
Obama made that statement at a White House press conference, arguing the private sector was doing better than the public sector.
He clarified the remark later in the day after heavy criticism from those on the other side of the political aisle.
"It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine," Obama said.
Friday's job report showed the public sector continues to be a drag on overall hiring. The government cut 9,000 jobs in the month, while private businesses added 172,000 jobs.
In his one-paragraph statement, Romney used the term "middle class" three times, pushing forward a campaign theme he began Thursday with the roll-out of a five-point plan designed to bolster the middle class.
Romney's team said they would hold 24 "Strengthening the Middle Class" events Thursday and Friday in battleground states meant to educate voters about the presumptive GOP nominee's economic plan.
Ben LaBolt, Obama's campaign press secretary, shifted focus away from the rising unemployment rate and toward the job creation numbers in Friday's report. The economy added 163,000 jobs in July, according to the Labor Department.
"There have now been 29 months of consecutive private sector job growth and we could do more today to create jobs if Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress stopped obstructing the President's jobs plan to create one million jobs now and took immediate action to ensure taxes on middle class families don't go up," LaBolt wrote.
Voters consistently say in polls that the economy is the most important issue to them in the presidential election, making each successive monthly jobs report critical to each candidate's political fortunes. In a USA Today/Gallup survey taken July 19-22, 50% of voters nationwide said Romney would be better at creating jobs, compared to 44% who named Obama.
In the seven states CNN considers "toss ups" in November's vote, the unemployment rate varies. June figures showed four battlegrounds - Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Iowa - with jobless rates below the national average. Florida and Nevada both had rates above the U.S. average, and Colorado's rate of 8.2% was on par with the national rate. July unemployment rates for individual states will be released later in August.
In his statement reacting to Friday's news, House Speaker John Boehner similarly used Obama's "doing fine" remark, writing the rise in unemployment made it clear that the opposite was true of the economy.
"Any new job creation is welcome news - but with unemployment still above eight percent and rising, and millions of Americans looking for work, it is insane to raise taxes on small businesses, as the president and his allies in the Democratic-controlled Senate propose," Boehner wrote.
Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, wrote that the jobs report was an indication the economy was in recovery, while still pinpointing the start of the economic crisis to before Obama took office. Like Romney, he utilized the phrase "middle class" three times in the first paragraph of his statement.
"While there is more work that remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Krueger wrote. "It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."
In a line he has used for the past several months in reacting to jobs reports, Krueger wrote it was "important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available."
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Friday the report was an indication that Obama's economic plan "didn't work at all."
"Instead of supporting American innovation and job creation, he has squandered taxpayer money on failed companies like Solyndra, which led to job losses," Priebus wrote. "It's no wonder we can't end this economic nightmare. The president continues to take us in the wrong direction."
Priebus also used Friday's report to back the jobs plan from presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
"President Obama's only plans for a second term are higher taxes and more spending–exactly the opposite of what we need," Priebus wrote. "On Day One of his presidency, Mitt Romney will get to work implementing his comprehensive jobs plan to turn around the economy."
CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
12 millions new jobs created Mittens ? where ? Offshore outsourcing ? hahaha
The rise in unemployment is people are going back to look for jobs and aren't ready for the ones out there. As for Romney's claim that his administration would get 12 million jobs created is questionable. He said that government doesn't create jobs but is still saying that he'd create 12 million of them... Okay, there is a problem here; I don't get it since these are opposing opinions.
How come Romney is always talking about blows?
Shocking news–Governor Romney thinks the jobs report is awful and blames President Obama. Why even post something like this? Let's ask President Obama about Governor Romney's time at Bain. I am sure he has wonderful things to say. Politics is pathetic. The ultimate childish game of blaming the other party for everything.
The rhetoric is getting boring and annoying. Why can't Romney explain how he is going to get 12 million jobs. If he offers a plausible explanation, I would consider voting for him. Unfortunately, all he seems to be able to say is that the bumbling black guy needs to go.
This Guy Mitt needs to stop blowing smoke out of his rear, Until you show us your past 10-12 years of tax return we don`t want to hear your foolish talk about what you will do, Everyone knows it`s false.
If you vote for Obama and you are out of a job or in a dead end job then you got what you voted for and deserve nothing more.........Obama economy no one else bears one once of responsability except obama
yeah, yeah, the "Do nothing party" reacts. This is the same guys who opposed the bill that would have put a curb to outsourcers.
Romney or what do u call yourself Americans are not ready for ur lie at this time. You and your party are only interested in the rich people. We never forget that 8years of Bush put us where we are today. Obama and Democrat are doing their best but your party making things difficult just to discredit Obama at the citizens expense
So typical of a vulture capitalist like Romney to outsource jobs, thus contributing to the unemployment rate and then turn around and point the finger at President Obama. No wonder why Romney cooked up this story that he retroactively retired from Bain in 1999.
Two words: Stock market.
If this jobs report is so bad, why are investors so upbeat? The market is how we keep score on the economy. Right now it's looking positive. Romney on the other hand wants the country to fail for his personal benefit. That's who you want as President?
Look t this mouth. Always waiting and praying for bad news on job’s report to find something to hammer the president on. This is why the republican members in the congress are not helping the president o make things better – just to get their own to the white House. The American people know your game and see that you are not working for the people but just for your bad intentions. This is pitiful.
All that is nice Mitt; but you must release all your irs tx data to prove to me that your owned/controlled secret corp. solgers installed in the white house hard drives are not a 911 style security risk.
didn't bush made that same argument that if you cut taxes the economy will grow like wild fire, but all we saw was a great catostrophies. lesson! folks are inventing stuff every day that is taking over human labor, I guarantee if we was living in the 80s and 90s this incredible strong financial sector we be about 3 percent in employment right now, but that good old internet, and all those great robots, gagets and computer systems are taking our expensive middle class jobs, and I am not even going to mention those good old slave workers from those third world countries. I am surprised we are still creating jobs after jobs month after month. for the past 29 month.
One tenth of one percent is a hammer blow? How about your tax returns, you buffoon. Post them, or shut up about others saying you aren't paying your taxes, which we all know you aren't.
Does Willard really have a clue ?
"My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with twelve million new jobs created by the end of my first term,"
What plan is that? Do you actually have a plan or anything other than asking me to pay and additional $2K in taxes per year to help a poor millionaire ?? The empty rhetoric from this man is unbelievable.. !!
But what is his plan?
Mitts (GOP) jobs plan – give a millionaire more money.
Since 1920, 70 million job adds under Democratic administrations, 35 million under Republican. Shut up, Mitt.
good job Romney!
The president needs to stop worry about class war, and concentrate on creating real jobs. And by creating real jobs, I don't mean he creates gov't jobs, I mean create an environment which is good for job creation. That means attracting business back to the US and giving people hope. It does not mean talking about additional taxes which are just going to keep people away.
Try again Mittens. Nobody believes you and your party for a minute. The uptick in unemployment is a direct result of the GOPs attempts at austerity. They are killing job growth in the public sector!!! Now is not the time to be cutting budgets!!!
Priebus, what comprehensive jobs plan does Williard have? Do you mean to tell the American People that we have to wait until Williard is president before he discloses his plan? Are you kidding me?
Create twelve million jobs in his first term? This guy will lie and say anything to become president.
A Republican prayer meeting goes something like this. Oh God please let Americans suffer so that we can get in office and raise taxes on the middle class and cut taxes on the wealthy. Please let the unemployment numbers show that Americans are suffering. We need them to suffer ole Lord so that we can make them suffer more when we get power. Oh and Lord a well placed war would look good about now as well. Amen.