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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid