June jobs report hanging over Obama bus tour
(CBS News) CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio - The report on June jobs numbers threatened to overshadow President Obama on the campaign trail Friday.
Mr. Obama was finishing a two-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, two important states he won four years ago.
But the Labor Department said Friday U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs last month. It was the third month in a row of sluggish hiring. The unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent.
Meanwhile, as presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney finishes his New Hampshire family vacation, people in his own party are criticizing his campaign strategy.
Friday is exactly four months from Election Day, and the president seems intent on making sure many of the blue collar workers in solidly Democratic northern Ohio turn out in large numbers in November.
And as part of that effort, his campaign has crafted a specific message that involves hammering Romney on the economy, and health care.
"I still believe in you, and if you still believe in me, and if you're willing to stand with me and knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls with me, we will finish what we started in 2008," Mr. Obama promised at one stop Thursday.
In communities critical to that win in 2008, the president tried to connect again with voters.
It was all part of a carefully choreographed bus tour, with Mr. Obama stopping at a local diner, even picking up some local produce, and ordering two beers in a local bar.
"I had a beer in Amherst, at Ziggy's, so I'm feeling good, feeling steady!" he remarked.
The president was also feeling good this week after his opponent took serious heat for his campaign's apparent flip-flop on whether the health care mandate is a penalty or a tax.
In an exclusive interview with CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford, Romney said, "The Supreme Court has the final word. And their final word is that 'Obamacare' is a tax. So it's a tax."
In an interview Thursday with Dayton, Ohio station WDTN, Mr. Obama took Romney to task over that remark, saying, "For six years, he said it wasn't, and he has suddenly reversed himself. So the question becomes, are you doing this because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years, simply because you're getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh and some critics in Washington?"
But much of the president's political focus has remained on Romney's record as the head of the private equity firm Bain Capital.
"Governor Romney's experience has been in owning companies that were called pioneers of outsourcing," the president told one crowd. "That's not my phrase. Pioneers of outsourcing. My experience has been in saving the American auto industry."
That message is carefully amplified with television ads running in Ohio.
Romney called the ads false and misleading in the interview with Crawford.
"Are you worried about that?" she asked. "Is that gonna resonate with Americans?"
"That's the nature of politics," Romney replied. "And I think it shows that he's in a real tough spot. He's grasping at any kind of straw he can find."
But while the president's on a bus, Romney's been on a boat, photographed while on vacation with his family in New Hampshire, and facing criticism from his own party.
The latest is from conservative Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard magazine, who compared Romney to two other men from Massachusetts who ran for president and lost: Democrats Michael Dukakis and John Kerry.
Kristol wrote: "Is it too much to ask Mitt Romney to get off autopilot and actually think about the race he's running?"
Sources inside the Romney campaign tell CBS News they are going to be beefing up their campaign response. But they claim it's not in reaction to the criticism from GOP conservatives.
But there's been good news for Romney -- from fundraising: His campaign announced Thursday that, in just the month of June, it raised more $100 million, the second big haul in a row, and likely the second straight month in which it will out-raise the president's campaign.
To see Norah O'Donnell's report, click on the video in the player above.
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