Friday's jobs report had some good news for Obama to trumpet, in the number of jobs created, but the rise in the unemployment rate gave ammunition for Romney as well.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
With higher-than-expected job creation in July, President Obama avoided a major blow in Friday’s unemployment report. But the rise in the jobless rate to 8.3 percent, up from 8.2 percent, mitigated the positive news – and handed campaign fodder to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Voters focus on the unemployment rate more than any other economic indicator, and the slight uptick feeds the narrative that the tepid economic recovery is losing altitude – a drag on Mr. Obama’s reelection prospects three months before Election Day.
Polls show the public still assigns much of the blame for the nation’s economic woes to former President George W. Bush, who left office in January 2009 amid an economic crisis. But with each passing month, Obama owns the economy, and he could pay the price for that in November. No president has been reelected with unemployment over 7.4 percent since the Great Depression.
IN PICTURES: On the campaign trail with President Barack Obama