Republicans seize on June jobs report as evidence of failed WH policies
Updated: 11:24 a.m. ET
(CBS News) Seizing on another month of lower-than-expected job growth, Republicans on Friday hammered President Obama for his handling of the economy, pointing to what they cast as the administration's failed policies that led to "another kick in the gut" for middle class families.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was swift to criticize the president for the Friday report, which showed that the economy had added 80,000 jobs in June and that the unemployment rate remained constant at 8.2 percent.
In a televised appearance from Wolfeboro, N.H., where he is vacationing, Romney called the unemployment rate "unacceptably high," and called on Mr. Obama to "stand up and take responsibility for it."Romney: Jobs report a "kick in the gut"
Obama: "Can't be satisfied" with small jobs increase
"We have seen the jobs report this morning and it is another kick in the gut to middle class families," Romney told reporters. "American families are struggling. There's a lot of misery in America today and these numbers understate what people are feeling and the amount of pain of which is occurring in middle class America."
Embracing the opportunity to pivot from controversy surrounding the former Massachusetts governor's remarks on health care this week, Republican leadership echoed Romney's sentiment in a slew of statements put out shortly after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the June data.
"Today's report shows the private sector clearly isn't 'doing fine' and that President Obama's policies have failed," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement. "The president needs to stop betting on his failed policies and start working with Republicans to remove government obstacles to job creation."
Added Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Reince Priebus: "Once again, the monthly jobs report brings devastating news for the millions of Americans looking for work," he said in a statement. "The Obama economy is defined by chronically high unemployment. Our country is coming out of the worst quarter of job creation in two years. ObamaCare and President Obama's other policies simply are not working and disappointed Americans are ready for a new direction."
Meanwhile, within hours of the BLS report, the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) organization, had launched a new ad, called "Excuses," focusing on the job numbers.
"America's jobless rate is still too high," says the narrator in the thirty-second spot. "Barack Obama's got lots of excuses for the bad economy ... but Obama never blames Washington's wild spending and skyrocketing debt." According to the Washington Post, "Excuses" will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia starting July 10 through early August.
The White House defended its performance Friday morning, arguing that while "much more remains to be done to repair the damage from the financial crisis and deep recession," the economy "is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression."
"It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class and makes us stronger and more secure as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisers. "There are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making."
"It is 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," Krueger added.
Mr. Obama, speaking at a campaign event in Pennsylvania Friday morning, said recent job growth was "a step in the right direction, but we can't be satisfied."
"It's still tough out there," he said. "We've got to grow the economy even faster, and we've got to put even more people back to work."
American Bridge, a pro-Obama PAC, anticipated the Romney campaign's negative assessment of the jobs report, arguing in an email before the numbers were released that the "Romney campaign will resort to their typical criticism that the President is not doing enough to create jobs, not taking into account the deep recession the President inherited."
In response, the group pointed to a 2006 video in which Romney said at a press conference he shouldn't be held responsible for the jobs lost during the early parts of his administration, and that there were many outside factors effecting the economy that he couldn't control.
"If you're going to suggest to me that somehow, the day I got elected, somehow jobs should immediately turn around, why that would be silly," Romney said in the video. "It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month."
"In the clip below uncovered by American Bridge, you will see Romney claiming that he shouldn't be held responsible for the jobs lost during the early parts of his administration, and that there were many outside factors effecting the economy that he couldn't control," the American Bridge email said. "It is definitely worth a watch to compare with his statements later today."
When asked about the video on Friday, Romney argued that with any "jobs figures, there are going to be factors that come and go that you can't control," but "the things you can control you want to get right."
"In the case of President Obama, this is not a monthly statistic or even a half yearly statistic. We've look at now almost four years of policies that have not gotten American working again," Romney told reporters. "His policies have not worked, and that's just not a short period of time, that's over a four year period of time, almost."
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