The following is an excerpt from JEFF MASON and SAM YOUNGMAN | September 9, 2012 | thefiscaltimes.com |
President Barack Obama charged back onto the campaign trail on Friday and faced a withering attack from Republican rival Mitt Romney over disappointing new U.S. jobs numbers as the candidates sought to emphasize their differences in states crucial to the battle for the White House. Just hours after basking in his supporters’ adulation at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama was hit by a stark reminder of the challenge he faces convincing voters to give him a second term despite stubbornly high unemployment on his watch.
As the candidates launched the final two-month drive to Election Day, the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Obama getting at least a small bounce from his convention, taking a narrow lead of 46 percent to Romney’s 44 percent among likely voters. Romney previously led by 45 percent to Obama’s 44 percent.
The latest polling was conducted before the Labor Department reported on Friday that U.S. employers added a lower-than-expected 96,000 jobs in August, which could ensure that any “bump” in popular support for Obama is limited and brief. The grim economic news dimmed the afterglow from the convention where Obama on Thursday night accepted his party’s nomination and appealed to Americans for more time and patience to finish his economic agenda.
Pouncing on the jobs data to slam Obama’s handling of the economy – the top concern of voters – Romney called the figures “another disappointing, sad report.” Romney said that Obama “just doesn’t know what it takes to get America strong again. And I do. And I’m going to bring it back,” Romney said at a rally.
While noting the private sector had now generated jobs for 30 straight months, Obama acknowledged: “It’s not good enough. We need to create more jobs faster.” At the same time, he pointed out that Republicans in Congress had blocked much of his jobs plan and accused Romney of making promises to revitalize the economy but not telling voters how he would do it. “I honestly believe this is the clearest choice that we’ve had in my lifetime,” Obama said at a later rally. “It’s a choice between two fundamentally different visions of our future, where America goes.”
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