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Unemployment rate may give Obama boost

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"The unemployment rate went down," Obama said. "And despite some strong headwinds this year, the American economy has now created in the private sector jobs for the past 21 months in a row. That's nearly 3 million new jobs in all, and more than half a million over the last four months."

Said House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut: "Today's unemployment numbers, while encouraging, simply underscore the urgency for Congress to address the top issue facing American families— jobs."

Republicans were publicly unimpressed with the jobs report, insisting Obama hadn't done enough and emphasizing that the jobless rate was still higher than when he took office in January 2009, when it stood at 7.7 percent.

"Any job creation is welcome news, but the jobless rate in this country is still unacceptable. Today marks the 34th consecutive month of unemployment above 8 percent," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

That view was echoed on the campaign trail.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in a Fox News interview, acknowledged that the report was good news but said it wouldn't help Obama politically. "This is the slowest recovery we've seen since (President Herbert) Hoover," Romney said. "He's going to have a hard time putting perfume on this pig." Hoover held office from 1929 to early 1933, at the outset of the Great Depression.

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