Jobs report gives Obama much-needed boost
by Ken Thomas, Associated Press and Nedra Pickler, Associated Press
October 05, 2012 01:45 PM | 2591 views | 10 10 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at George Mason University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at George Mason University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Fairfax, Va. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama celebrated much-needed good economic news Friday as the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since he took office. "We are moving forward again," he boasted. Republican rival Mitt Romney retorted that the president still hasn’t done enough to help millions of people who are out of work.

The figures announced by the Labor Department — 114,000 new jobs last month to bring the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent — gave Obama fresh evidence on the heels of his disappointing debate performance to argue that his economic policies are working. Romney countered that the country can’t afford four more years of the president’s leadership and argued that the rate is low in part because some people have quit looking for work.

"These are tough times in this community," Romney told a rally outside a construction equipment store after meeting with coal miners who have been laid off. "We’re going to bring back jobs and bring back America."

Obama responded that Romney wants to roll back policies that are repairing the economic damage.

"Today’s news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points," Obama said. "It is a reminder that the country has come too far to turn back now."

The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August, matching its level in January 2009 when Obama became president. There is one more monthly unemployment report before Election Day, so Friday’s numbers could leave a lasting impact on Americans who are already casting ballots in states that allow early voting.

The candidates campaigned Friday on opposite ends of one of those early voting states, Virginia. Romney, in the state’s far western coal country, said he wants to develop coal and other domestic resources to make the United States energy independent in eight years. Obama focused on recruiting women at an appearance in the Washington suburbs, where he argued that his health care policy has improved their health care choices.

Obama, seeking to rebound after Romney dominated their first debate Wednesday night, is accusing his rival of being dishonest about how his policies would affect the tax bills of middle-class families and the Medicare benefits of retirees. He told an audience at George Mason University that his rival "got an extreme makeover" in their face-off.

He also argued Romney can’t bring change to the country when he’s "willing to write off half the nation before you take office," a reference to Romney’s disparaging remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes. Romney made the comments at a fundraiser in May that was secretly recorded, but the videotape did not emerge until last month. Romney went as far as he’s ever gone to try to take back his words in an interview Thursday night with Fox News.

"Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right," Romney said Thursday. "In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong."

At the White House, senior adviser David Plouffe retorted: "I would take with a huge grain of salt trying to clean something up five months after you said it for the first time."

The next presidential debate is not until Oct. 16, a town hall-style meeting at Hofstra University in New York, giving both sides ample opportunities to blanket battleground states and raise money for the final weeks of television advertising.

Romney released three new ads on Friday, offering a window into his strategy for the coming week. One, called "Facts Are Clear," focuses on the national debt and accuses Obama of wasting trillions of dollars instead of creating jobs. A second spot features Greg Anthony, a former professional basketball player from Nevada, talking about his roots in the state and his switch from backing Obama in 2008 to Romney this year.

The third spot is titled, simply, "Ohio Jobs." It features Romney looking straight at the camera to talk to voters from the Midwestern battleground state seen as critical to his White House hopes. Obama also was campaigning in Ohio on Friday.

Obama’s team countered with an ad targeting Romney’s tax plan, accusing him of planning to raise taxes on the middle class. The ad was airing in seven battleground states.

Romney planned a rally later in the day in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off a weekend of campaigning in that state, the largest of the prized battlegrounds. Obama was holding a Friday rally in Cleveland before heading to California on Sunday for a fundraising spree that will include a concert in Los Angeles featuring Jon Bon Jovi, Katy Perry and Stevie Wonder.

Traveling aboard Air Force One, Plouffe foreshadowed an intense focus on Ohio in the coming weeks, where polls have shifted in Obama’s favor. No Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio, and Obama’s campaign sees blocking Romney there as one of its best paths to victory.

Plouffe said the true measure of the first debate was whether it moved voters in the battleground states. Speaking of Romney, Plouffe said: "Is he going to take the lead in Ohio? If he doesn’t, he’s not going to be president," he said.

___

Pickler reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Abingdon, Va., contributed to this report.

Comments
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Not consistent
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October 07, 2012
The numbers fluctuate every month. Businesses are beginning to hire seasonal employees for the holidays, so it will appear the numbers have gone up. Come January the numbers will drop, right about when the president is inaugurated. That means if Romney wins, the democrats will take hold and make a big deal about it. You can't look at those percentages that fluctuate month to month. If the economy is improving, the numbers should slowly but steadily move up. They are not moving up and won't until the tax system changes. Obamacare is killing businesses and many hidden taxes in the Obamacare are going to come to light in January. My open enrollment for insurance just came out and our rates went up $100 per MONTH!
Lib in Cobb
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October 06, 2012
If the White House was going to manipulate the job numbers, then why did they not manipulate the numbers in the previous three or six months and include more dramatic decreases in the unemployment percentage? This is nothing more than Republican BS, exactly like the attempted limitation of voter's rights in a variety of states, which is not playing out very well for them in the courts. The GOP is struggling with Mittens and they know that their chances or taking back the White House from what they consider to be an enemy of the state are limited, so they come up these cheap shots and make believe voter fraud conspiracies. Next time pick a worthwhile candidate to represent you and you won't have to rely on this nonsense.
BillOpo
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October 06, 2012
Some of you would post a negative comment even if unemployment dropped to 0%. So sad.
Tolerate
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October 06, 2012
THe only way I can tolerate this election is to vote my vote and know God is in total control.
Lib in Cobb
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October 07, 2012
@Tolerate: The voters are in total control of any election.

If god was in total control the GOP would have had a worthwhile candidate.
Gimme a Break
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October 05, 2012
My prediction is this report will be "corrected" after the election.
Timing is Everything
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October 05, 2012
I'm sure we can expect an even better report the 1st week in November. Especially since the seasonal hiring has started. But, the reality is the job market hasn't improved. Just ask my brother who's been applying for anything and everything out there to no avail. When you have over 100 people applying for 1 $10/hour job, there's still a problem. Obama can spin his reports any way he wants, doesn't make them true.
Fair Play NOT!
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October 05, 2012
So, not including those who've simply given up on searching for a job means things are all better, right? WRONG! Obama & Co. changed the calculation method to exclude lots of those chronically unemployed.

Approximately 250,000 jobs have to be created each month to just break even with those who graduate and enter the potential workforce. His latest report showed a mere 141,000 jobs, far less than needed.

In actuality, if including unemployed, discouraged and underemployed, the rate is actually 14.7. NOT good!
Wah Wah
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October 06, 2012
You would complain if 300,000 jobs were created. The 141,000 that got jobs are certainly not complaining.
Lib in Cobb
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October 06, 2012
More conspiratorial thinking. More "Boogeyman Politics". It's nice to watch the demise of the once proud GOP. You folks tried your best in 2008 with conspiratorial thinking about President Obama's birth and his non existent relationship with terrorists. Now the GOP is attempting a new conspiracy, along with violating voter's rights. The smaell of desperation is very obvious.
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