(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."
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"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.
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I'll take Mitt over Obama any day...at least Mitt knows how to keep a checkbook, something the dems and Obama do not know how to do evidently since they are bent on spending us right over the financial cliff...then have the nerve to blame it on GOP...remember Obamacare passed in the dark of night with no thought given to total cost on the taxpayer...typical dem behavior: accept no responsibility!
Obama's economy is the SLOWEST economic recovery in 100 years of recorded history...
If citizens knew what the real unemployment numbers were, the public would be shocked. It is estimated to be around 15% due to the fact that many have stopped looking for employment, and there a large number of unemployed not being counted because they are no longer receiving unemployment.benefits. Also, think of the underemployed as well.
With all the government regulations, poor economy, and the projected taxes, especially Obamacare taxes there is a great fear factor for businesses that want to hire, yet they cannot. What is Obama's plan to create jobs other than raising taxes which will only pay off several month of our huge16 trillion dollar debt.At least Romney has a logical common sense plan. Continuing to tax small businesses, and over spending is creating an economy that is only in a standstill. How can a country create jobs when you have a President who is anti-business and anti-success.
What's your plan?I'm still not HEARING ANY EXCEPT CRITICISM. GIVE ME A BREAK
WHERE ARE YOUR TAX RETURNS BY THE WAY?
Romney, like all Republicans loves to hear anything about our economy that can be interpreted as bad news. They have worked hard to prevent progress for political gain.
Right now Romney is losing his followers because people see what poor leadership he would provide. His "missing tax returns" show he has something very bad to hide – enough to cost him a huge percentage of his votes. If he knows it would cost him the election – shouldn't voters get to see the returns and decide for themselves? Is he a crook?
Priebus, the electorate are not total morons and won't fall for Rmoney's empty campaign promises!!
The Stock Market like the numbers.
400,000 jobs needed to just maintain so I think we got some way to go
How about those tax returns Mitty?
The least productive congress in history is led by a party who's led by a man who has said his top priority is to make Obama a one term president.
Do the math.
A relatively insignificant (statistically speaking) rise becomes a "hammer blow"? Can you say hyperbole? (Probably not!)
So Willard is promising 12 million minimum wage jobs by the end of his first term? Amazing!
Put up or shut up!
It took Dubya's administration 8 years to put the economy in the crapper. Why should it take Obama only 4 to get it back?
A) Obama admin created more jobs for Americans in this last month than Romney has in his entire professional life
B) Romney's plan is to add $2,000 in taxes to middle class families, so him and his 1% friends can received a quarter million in tax breaks
C) Romney wants to create 12 million jobs in 4 years, yet he was 47th in Job Creation as governor.
D) The ONLY plan Romney has is the Paul Ryan budget which has been proven will ADD to the deficit.
E) Romney wants a full repeal of Obamacare, which was originally his idea, and he wants to replace it with... nothing... costing tax payers more money and raising the deficit.
F) Romney is a Mormon, and will thus most likely try to push Polygamy as being legal.
G) Romney has PROMISED a war with Iran if elected president, so if you loved the 2 wars started by W, you'll love this war
H) Harry Reid accused Romney of paying no taxes for 10 years. Instead of showing his records to prove Reid wrong, he cries and complains that people are unfair to him.
I) The Romney's got a $77,000 tax BREAK for a dance horse. That's twice as much as I make in a year for an animal I have never witnessed before.
J) Romney was rejected by McCain for Sarah Palin...
It was Republican policies that pushed us into an economic crisis, and it'll be those same policies that will kill the American economy again. I blame the unemployment rate on the "do nothing Republicans" that has blocked every job proposal bill that the President as put in front of them. Don't Re-Pub anymore.
Mittler oh-so-conveniently ignores the other, Repugnant controlled branch of government. That big legislative branch that is the only place where bills are (sometimes) passed that could actually do something about job growth. That branch whose leaders have publicly vowed to do everything in their power to defeat Barack Obama, no matter what damage is done to the country. The Congress who have sat on their hands, doing nothing but pushing grandstanding actins against the ACA for lo these many years, while middle class people suffer and the rich get richer.
Instead, Rob-money criticizes the President. Talk about redirection and diversion!
Romney continues to criticize without offering any solutions. Loser.
It's funny for Romney to complain about the unemployment rate going up (8.2% to 8.3%) when he and other Republicans complained earlier that it only went down because people were no longer looking for jobs. Maybe this uptick means that more people are reentering the workforce because the economy is improving and they see better prospects for themselves.
It's neat how one can spin ANY economic news to support ANY political view.
untill he releases his tax returns who can believe what this clown says.
Sad sad day when Romney become president
The unemployment rate is bad enough, but would it not be interesting to see how many more people were added to the phony welfare rolls through SSI last month and what the real unemployment rate is (those who have stopped looking) to see the real effect of the corrupt, inept, incompetent presidency of Barrak Obama. A decent person with a sense of responsibility and a conscience would resign, but this fool is spending $100's of millions to get another 4 years and lying, and degrading and demeaning people who actually know what they are doing or need to be doing.
And the GOP takes another victory lap for tanking the economy. The GOP should be rounded up and shot on sight for treason. Bunch of filthy domestic terrorists.
No one can..The whole world will stay like this for many year more..
So Mittens, how many jobs did your Bain buddies ship overseas today? What's that, none you say? Ok, so how many got pink slips when Bain downsized? None again? Come on Mitt, nobody buys that!