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Republicans slam Obama after GDP report

Friday, July 27, 2012 - 10:00am

A report showing U.S. economic growth slowing over the past three months provided ammunition for Republicans Thursday, who pinned responsibility for a weak economy squarely on President Barack Obama.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote in a statement the numbers represented "just more devastating news for struggling American families."

"Instead of spending his time fighting for American jobs, President Obama is working desperately to save his own," Priebus continued, "As a result, 23 million Americans are struggling for work. We need a new president who understands how the economy works and who will make job creation his number one priority. Mitt Romney will be that president."

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign released a statement and held a conference call characterizing the report as dismal news for Americans looking for jobs.

"President Obama has been claiming that his economic policies have 'worked.' This morning's GDP numbers suggest otherwise," former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote in a statement from Romney's team. "It seems that the President's poor stewardship of the economy is only going to come to an end when his term comes to an end. Instead of generating growth and jobs, he has only generated uncertainty. Let's hope that the President finds the time amid his busy fundraising schedule to meet with his Jobs Council at least on one more occasion in what remains of his failed presidency."

The report from the Commerce Department showed the U.S. economy slowed in the second quarter amid weak consumer spending, government cuts and a rise in imports from foreign countries.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic health, grew at an annual rate of 1.5% from April to June, the Commerce Department said, down significantly from a 2% rate in the first three months of the year.

The Commerce Department also released revisions going back to the start of 2009. While the revisions showed that growth in 2010 was weaker than previously thought, 2009 and 2011 were slightly stronger.

The economy needs to grow around 3% a year to bring the unemployment rate down significantly, and since consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of the economy, it too needs to grow around 3%.

"The report this morning was not too off of what most economists expectations were with a headline number of 1.5% for GDP growth, but those expectations themselves, and the report itself, were actually quite disappointing. It's a picture of a decelerating economy," Romney economic adviser Glenn Hubbard said on a conference call organized by the presumptive GOP nominee's campaign.

Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, framed the numbers in a White House blog post as the "twelfth straight quarter of positive growth," though he acknowledged the rate of growth was still too slow for job creation.

"While the economy continues to move in the right direction, additional growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the deep recession that began at the end of 2007," Krueger wrote.

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CNNMoney's Annalyn Censky contributed to this report.
 

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