(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.
Romney loves to see middle class Americans hurting and all the $ he can make off of it!
"Hammer blow?" So – more people seeking work because the economy is improvind is a bad thing? Republicans are liars, or so incredibly gullible, they celebrate lies. It amazes me that people fall for this nionsense. republicans have done NOTHING to improve the economy – whining accomplishes nothing. They have low taxes, record profits, and yet THEY haven't cretaed jobs. The GOP is a suckfest – period.
Is it the same middle class Romney wants higher taxes on?
"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 is your plan Romney? You had no sleep last night just waiting to know what the job report says. Keep dreaming – you are not going to win. You think you will just keep attacking Obama and not disclose your tax returns to the people because you feel too arrogant that no one is supposed to see it. How would you serve the people if you feel like you can hide your way through this election?
Can Mitt explain how he will create those 12 million jobs???
1st off, Solyndra's impact, however small it was, has already occured, so how is it relevent today? Second, we are still under Bush's tax cuts, hich have proven that for more than 8 years, the "trickle" down theory for the rich does not work at all. Third, how can Obama have an economic plan, when everything he has proposed has been shot down by Congress? Fourth, how is one single person responsible for EVERY single business operations decisions in the U.S.? Now, with Mitt Romney at the helm of Bain, yes, he DID effectively destroy individual companies...
The right still does only one thing. Blame everyone else for the problem while blocking all attempts to solve it. I can't believe Americans do not see the right wants the economy to keep failing so they can get elected. It is not about our jobs it is all about their job.
Romney will created 12 million new jobs in 4 years eh? How is he going to blame Obama when he fails?
Romney you are so full of BSD 12 million jobs that means over 250,000 every single month what a load of crap!
Another dismal report on the economy, and people are still wondering if this Prez. can do the job? Just as more troublesome is the attempt by CNN to put a good spin on a meager number of jobs "added" – almost certainly to be revised downward again once the bad news is buried. The Democrats and their chief orchestrator have failed – it is time to try the other option, and this means getting as many of these tax greeding Democrats out of office this November as we can.
Oh Mitt, you're SO MUCH SMARTER than everyone else! You can single-handedly fix the European debt crisis, erase the worldwide recession, and magically create demand to make the economy ROAR! You're not as smart as you claime to be and (more important) we're NOT as stupid as you think we are!
Hey heres an idea, instead of the wimpy dems looking for MR NEXT PRES taxes why dont they work on the economy
Harry reed has done just a wonderful job with the Vegas economy im sick of the dems sideshows for petes sake do something productive
Romney 'pounces' on job report just like he did on John Lauber back in prep school! The jobs he shifted overseas not part of the problem? In countries where there is a large gap in incomes (measured by Gini Coefficient and can be found on the CIA World Fact Book page) have sluggish GDP growth. Poland's was 34.2 last time measured in 2008; the US has a 45 GINI in 2007, up from 40.8 in 1997. The higher the Gini Coefficient number the more income ineqality there is. Taxing the top 5% more does more to lower this number and create the robust economy Romney praised so much in Poland. P.S. Israel had a 39.2 in 2008 (most recent measure).
163,000 Jobs, in the month with just a net loss of 9,000 jobs. Someone please tell me HOW IS THIS THE FAULT OF THE PRESIDENT. You can't. Well, I didnt' think so.
I would really love to hear what Mitten Job Creation Plan truly is. When someone find out please inform the world, and I will listen to his plan and see for myself if it will work for me and my family but I believe Robmey plan will do NOTHING.
I wish Congress member would stay out of television and DO THE WORK OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
Renice Preibus knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF ROBMEY PLANS, NOTHING YOU HEAR ME. Renice Preibeus is NOTHING MORE THAN RNC PR BS.
If America is stupid enough to put these idiots back in charge than we will get what we deserves. I love this country so much and wonder why we won't make our Congressional EMPLOYEES DO THEIR JOBS. If i worked with my fellow co-workers the way they DON'T work with each other I would have been fired.
Why isn't he pinning it on the wonderful 2010 elected Congress that ran on "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS"? The truth, and Mittens and his handlers know this, is that they are thrilled that jobs are just where they are so they have a narrative for the gullible people who lap it all up. Fact is, our country was losing over 700,000 jobs per month when Obama took office. Did we think there would be a miracle transformation. It will take years to pay down the debt caused by the two unfunded wars PLUS tax breaks that were put in place as a "temporary" fix. How are those tax breaks working to change the jobs picture, Mittens? It's sure worked well to line the pockets of the wealthy though...."Mission Accomplished."
"12 million new jobs by the end of my first term..." <<- yeah, in China!
Like you always say Mitt, talk is cheap. You will create 12 million jobs?? How?
Clearly the markets feel differently than Mr. Romney ...
So how many job have the rich created since the Bush tax cuts? Maybe we should have a special tax for the middle tax to pay for more tax breaks for the rich.
For the first 45 years of my life I would often hear people alluding to "government jobs" in terms of maximum wealth for minimal effort, benefits that far surpassed anything the private sector could offer, retirement at age 50 followed by a nice cottage on the lake with a boat to go with it. And these terms were frequently used by the people who already HAD the jobs, not the people who wanted them! "Government job, government job, city job, county job, etc."
I don't hear so much of that anymore. And that doesn't really bother me one bit.
Maybe Willard should cutoff all corporate and PAC contributions and ask them to focus that money on hiring instead.
If Romney becomes POTUS he will continue the same GWB policies. In fact he has quite a few old Bushies working on his campaign. I guess now that Pres.Obama has gotten us out of the ditch Romney wants to push the 99% over the cliff. He needs to be truthful to the American People and show us his Tax Returns
LOL, yea as if Romney could every do anything to help middle America. NOT!
The hammer blow to struggling middle-class families exerted by the GOP lets make Obama a one term president ambitious goal. I hope America wise up and see the Crocodile tears in Mitten and the rest of the GOPs eyes. While the middle class straggling continued and progress slide they feel like they are an inch closer to their goal.
Yawn. Mittens is tapdancing so fast in his clown shoes that you can almost smell the burning rubber.