Mitt Romney called the latest jobs numbers released Friday “disturbing,” and said President Obama has failed to successfully reboot the economy after more than three years in office.
“These numbers understate what people are feeling and the amount of pain which is occurring in middle-class America,” Romney said.
His statement was addressed to Main Street, both literally and metaphorically. Romney took time off his family vacation to speak at a hardware store located on Main Street in Wolfeboro, N.H. His podium stood in front of an array of power tools, some adorned with American flags, and heavy equipment.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Romney said. “America can do better — and this kick in the gut has got to end.”
Criticized in the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page this week for failing to offer specific policy solutions, Romney responded to a question from a reporter by insisting he had produced more than enough details.
“I put out 59 steps for how I’d get the economy going and I don’t think I’ve seen any from the president,” he said. He cited his proposal to lower corporate and individual tax rates across the board, ironically a policy that’s come under fire due to his lack of specifics as to how he would pay for the massive tax cut.
Romney’s repeated claim that the president has not put forward a plan of his own was false on its face, however. Setting the policy merits aside, Obama has long demanded Congress pass various components of a $447 billion bill, the American Jobs Act, that would provide funding to hire teachers, firefighters and police officers, employ construction workers for infrastructure projects and cut a variety of business taxes with the intention of encouraging more hiring. The plan would be paid for by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.
In a statement rebutting Romney, Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said that the president had rescued the economy from a much worse outcome and would continue to push for the above proposals.
“The President brought us back from the brink of another Depression but he doesn’t believe our work is done - he’s got a plan to restore the middle class and create a million jobs now that Mitt Romney opposes and Republican leaders have blocked,” LaBolt said. “Mitt Romney says he has a better path, but over the past decade we saw where that took us — to the slowest job growth since World War II, the collapse of our financial system and the deterioration of the middle class. In fact, independent economists have concluded his plan wouldn’t create one job, wouldn’t reduce the deficit one cent, and could lead to another recession. Mitt Romney’s economic policies failed before and instead of creating jobs, they would weaken the economy and undermine the middle class.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.