Mitt Romney delivers a speech during a campaign stop in Portsmouth, Va. (Rob Ostermaier / Daily Press )
Mitt Romney blasted a labor report Friday that found that the economy added 115,000 jobs last month and unemployment dipped to 8.1%, saying that the nation should be creating nearly five times as many jobs per month and that unemployments claims were dropping because people were giving up on looking for work.
“It’s a terrible and very disappointing report this morning. Clearly the American people are wondering why this recovery isn’t happening faster, why it’s taking years and years for the recovery to occur and we seem to be slowing down, not speeding up,” Romney said on the Fox News program "Fox and Friends." “This is not progress. This is very, very disappointing.”
Romney said President Obama would not be able to campaign on an improving economic picture, because unemployment has remained above 8% for 38 months, which he said was the longest period of high unemployment since the nation started keeping records more than 60 years ago.
“It’s a terrible record. It shows the president’s policies have not worked,” he said, adding that he would right the economy by repealing "Obamacare," increasing domestic energy production and eliminating the federal budget deficit.
Romney also spoke out for the first time publicly about the resignation of Richard Grenell, who is openly gay, as a spokesman for Romney on foreign policy. His hiring was seized upon by some social conservatives as evidence that Romney was not committed to their issues. Grenell resigned, with some saying that he did so because the campaign failed to vocally back him against those critics.
Romney reiterated what his staffers have said previously, that he wanted Grrenell to stay on because he was the most qualified person for the job, and that a series of top advisors reached out to Grenell and urged him to reconsider.
“He’s a very accomplished spokesperson,” Romney said. “We select people not based on ethnicity or their sexual preference or their gender but upon their capabilities. He was a capable individual and we’re sorry to have him go.”