Time running out for Obama to turn around the economy
Published June 01, 2012 FoxNews.com
With two consecutive months of dismal job growth amid rising unemployment-- and just five months until Americans go to the polls to choose their next president -- the Obama administration is on the clock to show it indeed can “put Americans back to work.”
That reality was underscored Friday by Labor Department reports that showed the jobless rate ticked upward in May to 8.2 percent, from 8.1 percent, and that virtually stagnant economic growth created only 69,000 new jobs -- the fewest in a year.
The White House, then Obama were quick to defend the numbers, saying -- as they have since taking office in 2008 -- the problems were inherited.
“We’re still fighting our way back,” the president said during a campaign stop at a Honeywell facility in Golden Valley, Minn. “Our economy is still facing serious head winds.”
The president -- who attributes the sluggish growth over the past few months, to gas prices and the European debt crisis – followed Alan Kruger, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, who gave a similar account.
“Problems in the job market were long in the making and will not be solved overnight,” Kruger said on the White House blog. “The economy lost jobs for 25 straight months beginning in February 2008, and over 8 million jobs were lost as a result of the Great Recession. We are still fighting back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression."
But Republican leaders and the president’s GOP challenger Mitt Romney sounded as if they had heard the explanation before.
"Another month of disappointing job gains, said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.”It's pretty clear that the American people are hurting, small continue to avert hiring any additional people, and it's clear that the policies that we've seen are not working."
Romney called the report "devastating news for American workers and American families.”
“It is now clear to everyone that President Obama’s policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America’s middle class,” he said.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the Obama-Romney race has always been about the economy, but the recent reports again push social issues into the background.”
“It’s more so now, and both sides know it,” he said.
Sabato also suggested the president’s timetable in now more a stopwatch than calendar.
“He’s got five more” monthly unemployment reports,” he said. “That’s it. To get elected the president has to show improvement. Period.”