News / USA

Obama, Romney Spar Over Lower Jobless Numbers

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a rally in Fishersville, Virginia, October 4, 2012.
Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a rally in Fishersville, Virginia, October 4, 2012.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, are disputing the meaning of September’s better-than-expected U.S. jobless figures.  Both candidates were seeking votes Friday in swing states, where polls show the campaign is tightening.

The Labor Department says U.S. unemployment showed a bigger than expected drop, from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September.

Last month’s figure matches the unemployment rate in January 2009, when Obama took office, and it is expected to give his re-election campaign a boost.

At a campaign rally in Virginia Friday, the president said the improved jobless number is a sign of progress in the country’s economy.

“This morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office. More Americans entered the work force, more people are getting jobs," said President Obama.

As he does each month, however, the president reminded the audience that more work lies ahead.

“Now, every month reminds us that we have still got too many of our friends and neighbors who are looking for work.  There are too many middle class families that are still struggling to pay the bills.  They were struggling long before the crisis hit," said Obama.

While the president campaigned in the affluent Virginia suburbs of Washington,  Romney was seeking votes from coal miners in the opposite end of the state.

He dismissed the lower jobless rate, saying it was the result of more Americans giving up their search for work and not being counted in the statistics.

“So it looks like unemployment is getting better, but the truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the workforce today as on the day the president got elected, why, our unemployment rate would be around 11 percent.  That is the real reality of what is happening out there," said Romney.

President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at rainy Cleveland State University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at rainy Cleveland State University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.
x
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at rainy Cleveland State University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.
President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at rainy Cleveland State University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.
Obama said Republicans were playing politics with the jobless figure, and he insisted that the economic recovery was making progress.

“But today’s news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points.  It is a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now," he said.

Romney, however, did not join some other Republicans who accused the Obama administration of manipulating the jobs data to help the president’s campaign.  The White House denies the charge.

The former Massachusetts governor did tell supporters he will do a better job than Obama of putting people back to work.

“When I am president of the United States, when I am president of the United States that unemployment rate is going to come down, not because people are giving up and dropping out of the workforce, but because we are creating more jobs.  I will create jobs and get America working again," said Romney.

After speaking in Virginia,  Romney’s next campaign stop was in Florida.

The president was addressing rallies at universities on Friday.  After his first stop at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, he went to Cleveland State University in Ohio.

Most recent public opinion polls show Obama still holding a slight lead nationwide, but Romney is pulling even in several swing states.

Most analysts believe Romney was the clear winner in Wednesday night’s debate, the first of three between the two candidates.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid