The monthly jobs report, which has become as closely watched in the presidential campaign as the speeches and commercials, showed a lower-than-expected 96,000 jobs being added in August. The reaction of the Obama and Romney campaigns was predictable, as Obama said they weren’t good enough and Romney said they were “sad.”
There will be just one more jobs report before the Nov. 6, election, showing that this brutal campaign has finally entered its last stage after the completion of the two party conventions officially nominating Mitt Romney and Barack Obama as their party standard bearers.
This election has been all about the economy from the start, as the country continues to try to dig out of the most devastating recession the nation has seen in several generations. The terms of the debate have been starkly defined: Romney said the slow pace of growth shows that Obama doesn’t understand how to create jobs; Obama says the hole dug by his Republican predecessor was so deep that it’s going to take time to emerge completely—and, by the way, Congressional Republicans have blocked every attempt he has made to implement policy that might bring about quicker improvement.
The president appeared to get a slight bounce from the Democratic coronation in Charlotte, as the latest Reuters poll showed him with a narrow 46-44 lead among likely voters—Romney led the last poll 45-44. The poll was conducted before the release of the jobs report.
Romney said the jobs numbers were “another disappointing, sad report.”
Obama “just doesn’t know what it takes to get America strong again. And I do. And I’m going to bring it back,” Romney said at a rally.
Obama noted that the private sector had now generated jobs for 30 straight months.
“It’s not good enough,” he said. “We need to create more jobs faster.”
As he has continually, the president pointed out that Republicans in Congress had blocked much of his jobs plan and accused Romney of making promises to revitalize the economy but not telling voters how he would do it.
“I honestly believe this is the clearest choice that we’ve had in my lifetime,” Obama said at a later rally. “It’s a choice between two fundamentally different visions of our future, where America goes.”
Obama was joined in a rare joint appearance by his wife, Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, still aglow from their highly praised convention speeches. Obama’s acceptance speech drew the largest television audience of two conventions and was described as the biggest political moment ever on Twitter.
Obama and Romney were in the battleground states of New Hampshire and Iowa yesterday, which are among eight to 10 battleground states that are likely to decide the election—Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Obama will be conducting a weekend bus tour of Florida, while Romney heads to Virginia for campaign events on Saturday.
“The message from last night was that the president’s plan is four more years of the four last years. And I don’t think the American people want four more years of the four last years,” Romney said.
The next highly anticipated campaign event will be two men standing face-to-face for the first of three presidential debates on Oct. 3 in Denver.