President Obama told an audience at a school in Poland, Ohio, on Friday that American job growth was still moving in a positive direction — even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
“It’s still tough out there,” Obama said, referring to a weaker-than-expected jobs report released earlier Friday. “We learned this morning our businesses created 84,000 new jobs last month and that overall means that businesses created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months — including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs.”
Obama called that growth “a step in the right direction,” but warned that Americans “can’t be satisfied” until the economy is even better than it was in 2007, before a financial crisis and deep recession.
“I want to get back to a time when middle-class families and those working to get to the middle class have basic security,” Obama said. “That’s our goal. We have to grow the economy even faster. We have to put even more people back to work.”
Obama called on voters to re-elect him in order to break a “stalemate” in Washington over the economy and allow him to enact new investments in infrastructure and education.
“We’re trying to put Congress to work,” he joked in an aside to an audience member.
Obama accused Romney of favoring the wealthy with tax cuts and deregulation — measures already instituted under President George W. Bush in the run-up to the recession.
“If you look throughout the history, that kind of top-down economics has never worked,” Obama said. “We have got to have somebody who is fighting for you. Somebody who is thinking about how to grow the economy from the middle out, from the bottom up, not from the top down. That’s why I’m running for a second term as president.”
His remarks came shortly after an appearance by Mitt Romney in Wolfeboro, N.H., in which the presumptive Republican nominee called the latest jobs numbers “a kick in the gut” and evidence that the White House’s policies had failed.
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.