Romney pins 'hammer blow' unemployment rise on Obama

Friday, August 3, 2012 - 10:00am

Republicans pounced quickly Friday after a Labor Department report showed the unemployment rate rising a tenth of a percent to 8.3% in July. The report also showed 163,000 jobs were added last month.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, wrote the uptick in unemployment was a "hammer blow to struggling middle-class families."

"My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with twelve million new jobs created by the end of my first term," Romney promised in a statement sent shortly after the July jobs report was released.

Both President Barack Obama and Romney have events scheduled for 11:45 a.m. ET, where both candidates will likely address Friday's jobs numbers.

Capitalizing on a remark the president made in June, Romney wrote that Obama "doesn't have a plan and believes that the private sector is 'doing fine.'"

Obama made that statement at a White House press conference, arguing the private sector was doing better than the public sector.

He clarified the remark later in the day after heavy criticism from those on the other side of the political aisle.

"It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine," Obama said.

Friday's job report showed the public sector continues to be a drag on overall hiring. The government cut 9,000 jobs in the month, while private businesses added 172,000 jobs.

In his one-paragraph statement, Romney used the term "middle class" three times, pushing forward a campaign theme he began Thursday with the roll-out of a five-point plan designed to bolster the middle class.

Romney's team said they would hold 24 "Strengthening the Middle Class" events Thursday and Friday in battleground states meant to educate voters about the presumptive GOP nominee's economic plan.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Friday the report was an indication that Obama's economic plan "didn't work at all."

"Instead of supporting American innovation and job creation, he has squandered taxpayer money on failed companies like Solyndra, which led to job losses," Priebus wrote. "It's no wonder we can't end this economic nightmare. The president continues to take us in the wrong direction."

Priebus also used Friday's report to back the jobs plan from presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"President Obama's only plans for a second term are higher taxes and more spending--exactly the opposite of what we need," Priebus wrote. "On Day One of his presidency, Mitt Romney will get to work implementing his comprehensive jobs plan to turn around the economy."

Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, characterized Friday's report on CNN as "solid and encouraging."

"You wouldn't break out the party hats, but certainly coming off several months where the numbers were below expectations and fairly weak because the economy wasn't growing fast enough with the events in Europe and some of those things, this is a pretty solid number. I mean, it came in well above expectations," Goolsbee said.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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