GOP Presidential Candidates Rip Obama Over Jobs Report

Friday, 08 Jul 2011 11:51 AM

By Dan Weil

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The recession may have ended officially in June 2009, but don’t try telling that to America’s workforce. The nation’s payrolls rose a paltry 18,000 in June after just a 25,000 gain in May. And unemployment climbed to 9.2 percent last month, the highest level of the year.

Given those distressing numbers, Republican presidential candidates don’t have much good to say about President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy. They are making their feelings clear Friday.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann came out with the first reaction to the bleak jobs statistics, saying, "Today's unemployment report is another stark reminder of the failure of President Obama's economic policies.

“The president promised if we passed the massive stimulus package, that unemployment wouldn't go above 8 percent. We are now at 9.2 percent. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are suffering today as a result of the president's broken promise and his policy of attempting to create jobs through massive government spending that has added over 35 percent to our national debt.”

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Bachmann noted the talk that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner may leave office before Obama’s first term ends. "We can only hope that the president will be right behind him after the next election,” she said.

"The president promised 'shovel-ready' projects [as part of his stimulus plan] that would create jobs, but now the president says 'shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.' Mr. President, it's time to take the shovel out of your hand and stop digging.”

What is responsible for the weak jobs market, Obama might ask. “Your administration's threat of higher taxes, massive government spending, and overregulation are," Bachmann answers.

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney puts the blame on Obama, too. "Today's abysmal jobs report confirms what we all know — that President Obama has failed to get this economy moving again,” the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement.

“Just this week, President Obama's closest White House adviser [David Plouffe] said that unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers do not matter to the average American.
If David Plouffe were working for me, I would fire him — and then he could experience firsthand the pain of unemployment.”

Plouffe’s remarks represent a slap in the face to the 20 million-plus Americans out of work, underemployed, or who have ceased looking for jobs, Romney said. Indeed, including those unfortunate folks, the “real” unemployment rate stands at 16.2 percent.

“With their cavalier attitude about the economy, the White House has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of indifference," Romney said.

Obama’s former employee — as ambassador to China — and GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman wasn’t too impressed with the jobs data, either. "Rising unemployment rates and extremely anemic job creation are not acceptable,” he said.

“Even in great hardship, the American people have been extraordinarily patient in waiting for the better and brighter times promised to them by this administration. Their patience has rightly worn thin.”

So what’s the solution? “We need free-market, pro-growth policies to spark a wave of job growth — the same policies we implemented in Utah to make it the fastest-growing state in the nation. America needs new leadership to turn our country around," Huntsman said.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty wouldn’t mind seeing new leadership himself. And like Huntsman, he thinks the savior is in the mirror.

"President Obama is out of answers and running out of time,” Pawlenty said. “His policies are not creating the necessary jobs, and he has no plan to do anything about it. We will have continued anemic growth and disappointing job creation so long as Barack Obama is president.”

And what would Pawlenty do about it? “I will turn around the economy as president by setting bold growth goals and implementing specific proposals to achieve them."

It wasn’t just presidential candidates expressing their outrage over the weak jobs data. The reaction of Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner: “Yikes,” Buck wrote on his Twitter account.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor related the jobs news to negotiations over a debt ceiling increase. “These numbers serve as a warning that as we address the debt limit increase we shouldn’t do so in a way that raises taxes and impedes the ability of small businesses to create jobs and get people back to work,” he said.


Boehner agrees. "Where are the jobs?" he asked at a news conference today after the report.
"Tax hikes on families and job creators will only make things worse."

Indeed, Democrats’ insistence on tax increases torpedoed the debt talks that Vice President Joe Biden led for weeks, Cantor said.

"If you look at the jobs report and the results of current policies and where we are in this economy, that's why the Biden talks had to end," Cantor said. "It just does not make sense for Americans to suffer under higher taxes in an economy like this. There is no way the House of Representatives will support a tax increase."

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