Romney: Higher Unemployment Shows US Economy at ‘Virtual Standstill’

Posted November 2nd, 2012 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is using the one-tenth-of-a-point increase in the nation's unemployment rate to criticize his rival, President Barack Obama, as the candidates move into the closing days before Tuesday's election.

The former Massachusetts governor called the 7.9 percent October jobless rate “a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill.” He pointed out that the figure is higher than the 7.8 percent rate in January 2009 when President Obama took office.

When unemployment fell back to 7.8 percent in September, it marked the first time the figure dropped below 8 percent in the nearly four years since that January.

Since World War Two, no U.S. president has won re-election with an unemployment rate above 7.4 percent.

But President Obama highlighted the good in the new jobs figures, telling supporters in Ohio Friday that the report showed the U.S. labor market added jobs in October.

“In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And today, our businesses have created nearly 5.5 million new jobs, and this morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months.”

President Obama's senior campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said Friday on the CBS television network that the nation is “not where we all want to end up,” but he said the administration is making “serious, important progress moving forward.”

In the final days of the presidential race, both Mr. Romney and President Obama are conducting a campaign blitz through the so-called “battleground or “swing” states expected to decide the election.

After rallies in Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, and Ohio Thursday, Mr. Obama plans to spend all day Friday in Ohio — a crucial state for both candidates. Mr. Obama plans to visit Ohio on each of the last four days of the campaign.

Mr. Romney on Friday visits both Ohio and Wisconsin. He is expected to join forces with running mate Paul Ryan for an event in West Chester, Ohio. The Romney campaign says it expects “nearly 100” governors, senators, mayors, and other officials to attend. In his final days of campaigning, Mr. Romney is also planning stops in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado.

Though Hurricane Sandy relief efforts have won Mr. Obama unusual praise from both Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, polls show the two presidential candidates are just about tied for popular support.