THE RACE: Weakening jobs outlook colors campaign

AP News
Posted: Jun 01, 2012 3:43 PM
THE RACE: Weakening jobs outlook colors campaign

President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney both made the economy the main focus of their respective campaigns. Friday's weak jobs report keeps it there.

But given their rival perspectives, they're seeing two different economies.

Romney sees the glass as half empty, claiming Obama turned a bad economy worse. He says his private-sector experience and as Massachusetts governor will help him create jobs and heal the economy.

Romney called the government report "devastating" and said "probably the most significant thing we can do in the near term is get a new president who understands what it takes to get the economy going." Obama is "not up to the task, he's in over his head," Romney told CNBC.

Obama sees the glass as half full, arguing the economy is slowly improving and asking voters to trust him to help nurture a full recovery. He disparages Romney's record both as governor and when he ran a private-equity firm.

The jobs report shows "the economy is growing again, but it is not growing as fast as we want," Obama said. "We will come back stronger. We have better days ahead," he told factory workers in Golden Valley, Minn.

The report showed the economy added just 69,000 jobs in May and raised the jobless rate to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent. It compounded concerns about slowing global growth, sent stocks plunging and clouded Obama's second-term prospects.

No president since Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression has won re-election with an unemployment rate as high as it is today.

It was 7.2 percent when President Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale in 1984 and 7.4 percent when Bill Clinton ousted President George H.W. Bush in 1992. It was 6.7 percent when Obama beat Sen. John McCain in November 2008.

Romney continued a fundraising tour in California. Obama was heading to Chicago.


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