President Barack Obama told campaign donors in Chicago and Minnesota that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is largely to blame for the slowest month of U.S. employment growth in a year, seeking to counter an issue weighing on his re-election bid.
“We’re not where we need to be; we’re not there yet; you saw that in today’s jobs report,” the president said at a Chicago fundraiser, the fourth of six yesterday in the Midwest. “A lot of that’s attributable to Europe and the cloud that’s coming over from the Atlantic. The whole world economy has been weakened by it, and it’s having an impact on us.”
US President Barack Obama speaks to employees and guests at the Honeywell Golden Valley facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 1, 2012. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images
Obama’s prospects for a second term suffered a blow yesterday with a U.S. Labor Department report showing payrolls expanded by 69,000 last month, less than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of private economists, while the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent.
Both Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have sought to make the economy the focus of the election. The president says the former Massachusetts governor backs policies that brought the U.S. into a crippling downturn, while Romney, a co-founder of the Bain Capital LLC private-equity firm, asserts Obama lacks the business acumen needed to lead an economic turnaround.
Romney, who clinched the Republican nomination on May 29 by winning the Texas primary, said yesterday on CNBC that the jobs numbers were “very bad news for middle-class families in America” and a “harsh indictment” of Obama’s policies.