Romney pins 'hammer blow' unemployment rise on Obama
August 3rd, 2012
09:21 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney pins 'hammer blow' unemployment rise on Obama

(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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Filed under: Jobs • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Michael Q

    With manufacturing (union jobs) being shipped overseas, with government job cuts being Republican Governors' main mantra to cut spending, it is putting the less educated out on the streets thus the high unemployment rate. Anyone can play with numbers as Romney and his cohorts are doing to the growing uneducated masses forced out on the streets. It's the same old blame Obama and get the masses angry at the black guy thing.

    If this continues, an uneducated and illiterate America will return the Koch-types back in power as they ramp up the military contracts, ship more manufacturing offshore, remove regulations to the environment for their oil lobbyists, and enrich their own personal wealth on the backs of those fools who voted them back in like they started in 2010. (How is that working out so far?) America is being conned again and only the rich shall inherit America!

    August 3, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. USN-Ret

    Nothing new in this article. Oh well, guess I'll move on to the next.

    August 3, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Formed Dem

    Go president Romney!!! Just like how we turned out for Chick Fil-A we will turn out for you and have your back in November. We dont want NOBAMA's handouts and broken promises! We want jobs! NOBAMA 2012!!!

    August 3, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    This whole political squabble over unemployment is fast becoming the biggest "yeah, whatever" moment in American history.

    It's been a long, long time since Congress cared enough about the middle class and joblessness to actually work together and improve the suffering of those faced with job loss after job loss.

    Strangely enough, we (the middle class) are the biggest voting block in the country. And yet, while the GOP reeks with condescension towards middle class voters, there are those will will continue to vote the worst of them in - year after year. I sincerely doubt a Mitt Romney presidency will improve anything, probably just head us right back where we were: pandered to and then ignored as they rush to push us out of their way.

    So, yeah, whatever, TeamRomney ...

    August 3, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Meow

    Sorry but a job like president of the United States of America requires full disclosure. Release all of your taxes Romney or you don't get my vote.

    August 3, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Romney 2012. Change for the better.

    August 3, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  7. joseph

    Dont you love how spending and the markets are up but these "job creators" are still laying people off because they flipped up the business model or paid themselves too much, now this muppet wants my vote? Lets get this straight once and for all, 95% of executives in big biz are jerks. Plain and simple, you dont get to the top by being Mr Nice Guy and the US Public arent shareholders for these guys. Who you think they are going to be looking out for? The people who will make them more money once done in govt. Now carry on thinking Mitt is on your side.

    August 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. annieL

    If everybody's taxes get cut, doesn't that worsen the national debt? Wouldn't that be like me quitting my job to pay off my credit cards? Oh, I know the GOPs "starve the beast" plan. They're hoping we will LOVE their tax cuts and then they will cut federal programs and workforce so that states, local governments and schools have to cut services and personnel or else raise state and local taxes. Make no mistake. State and local governments DEPEND on federal funds for all kinds of necessities, from water and sewer projects and highways and police cars and 911 communication systems to vo-tech schools and libraries and senior citizen housing. So if you want higher state and local taxes or you want major cuts in local services, be sure and vote for Mr. Romney's tax cuts for the wealthy.

    August 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Bill from GA

    I'm sure it doesn't matter to mitts that every jobs bill since the Stimulus has been blocked by the repugs.

    mitts (and ALL repugs) claims the Stimulus was a total failure. Any competent businessman could look at the graphs of jobs creation, GDP, and the stock markets and he would see the awesome turnaround when Obama first took office; before the repugs began to block any progress by the dems.

    Don't let any of Obama's policies be implemented, then blame him when the country's economy stagnates. Repug Policy.

    August 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. dreamer96

    Walmart pays most of their employees minimum wage..but did you know most employees only get 20 hours at Walmart..not even enough to survive on, raise a family.. So when Walmart hires a person with a family, kids..that are only going to get 20 hours a week, Walmart gives them paper work, and information to apply for low income government aid, like food stamps..

    That is the GOP plan...huge corporations paying minimum wage, little in benefits, and few hours to a large work force,..making lots of profits..and the Federal Government providing food stamps..While the top 1% get richer... That is what the GOP want...That is what Mitt Romney wants..his share of the profits..that is what he has always wanted..

    August 3, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  11. g

    obama where are all those jobs me and my friends sent overseas

    August 3, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. anagram_kid

    And then Speaker Boehner returned to the house to look over some bills about renaming post offices and finding new ways to express their hatred of women. Jobs, you say? Apparently his role has nothing to do with that subject.

    August 3, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Sandy

    LOL. Romney couldn't wait for the jobs report to come out to deflect from his taxes. We still GAINED jobs instead of LOSING jobs like we did at the end of the Bush presidency. So, we are still moving in the right direction even if unemployed ticked up a bit. But we all know why jobs are not being created. CONGRESS IS DOING NOTHING and went on vacation for another MONTH!

    August 3, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Riverwheeler

    Willard could care less about the middle class, RELEASE YOUR TAX RETURNS WILLARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. No_Bammy

    By bye bammy!!!

    August 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. nowukno

    I've always heard "A lie doesn't care who tells it.....whats the plan Mitty...!

    August 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. beevee

    This guy Romney should know that the US economy is intertwined with global economy and it is extremely difficult to pull away from the drag down effect of global economy. Frustrating as it may seem the current president of the US has slowly bringing up the sitauation in USA for the better. Just think about how the previous administration left the US economy in shambles and in a downward spiral. The economists working with Romney are only giving the american voters a pipedream of creating 12 million jobs and I think it is bunch of BS and they know full well it is not true and is a gimmick to get Romney into the WH. You be the judge.

    August 3, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. vote the Tea Party Out in 2012

    after seeing Romney's tax plan for Americans and his support for the Ryan budget I am really certain now that he cares very much about the Middle Class.............just about as much as he cares about the poor.

    August 3, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. sarge

    Pay your taxes, and you will have people believing in you again...

    August 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Concerned4Fla

    Obama 2012.
    Seriously people.

    August 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  21. Hotdog

    It is sickening to say the least that these politicians play people for fools. We did not get into this economical situation over night and there is not magic wand that can eradicate this problem that easy. Until we return manufacturing jobs to this country and invest in our infrastructure will we see the unemployment numbers decrease. American greed which is the culprit of out sourcing and our elected officials which are unwilling to work together for the good of the country is the problem. Just look at all the money that is used in the election of the POTUS. That money could be used to create jobs.

    August 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. nowukno

    "On Day One of his presidency, Mitt Romney will get to work implementing his comprehensive jobs plan to turn around the economy."

    Rubbing my hands together..."tell me more...tell me more....!

    August 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Logic N LA

    Unless Romney's plan includes getting rid of Congress, he will not any jobs to the economy.
    Maybe he can get his rich freinds to promise that if they get more tax cuts they will open businesses, hire more people and produce good no one needs, just so he can look good. Like that's going to happen.

    August 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. rickp530

    Romney needs to lay his plan out for the American citizens. Words mean nothing. I could say that I will create trillions of jobs with my plan in four years. Can I really do this? Elect me and find out.

    August 3, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. mcskadittle

    The hammer blow is the republicans continuing to fire government workers

    August 3, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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