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Obama: Employment numbers would be better if Congress acted

September 07, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • President Obama at a campaign event at Strawbery Banke Field in Portsmouth, N.H.
President Obama at a campaign event at Strawbery Banke Field in Portsmouth,… (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images )

President Obama said Friday that the job growth reflected in the latest employment report is “not good enough” but suggested things would get better quicker if Congress would cooperate.

“We need to fill the hole left by this recession faster,” Obama said, “and there’s a lot more that we can do.”

The country would see more job growth if Congress would pass the jobs bill he sent them last year, Obama told a crowd in Portsmouth, N.H.

It would also help middle-class families feel more secure if lawmakers would vote to extend tax cuts for them, he said, and save the fight over tax cuts for the wealthy for later on.

The midday event was the first campaign rally since Obama closed the Democratic National Convention with a speech accepting the party’s nomination for president.

PHOTOS: Protests of the DNC

Obama hit many of the themes he outlined in his speech the night before – as did Vice President Joe Biden, who is traveling with him.

Obama also had to address the new job numbers released Friday morning. The country gained jobs for the 30th month in a row, with 96,000 new jobs in August, and the unemployment rate edged downward from 8.3% to 8.1%.

But the report was disappointing nonetheless, because job creation was lower than expected. Also, the rate fell partly because discouraged workers left the workforce. The bad news could counteract some or all of the bounce in popularity that Obama hopes for in the wake of the party convention.

In his first post-convention event, Obama mocked Republican Mitt Romney’s economic plans by saying that, basically, they all boil down to five words: tax cuts for the wealthy.

“Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds!” he said. “Tax cuts to help you improve your love life!”

If he needs any help laying that out in more detail, Obama might turn to former President Bill Clinton for a reprise of the lecture on Republican policies he delivered at the convention this week.

PHOTOS: Best of the Republican, Democratic conventions

Obama said someone emailed him to suggest a position for the former president in the second term. One of the recent critiques of Obama is that he hasn't adequately explained his policies and plans to the American people.

“Secretary of Explaining Stuff,” Obama said, as if thinking it over. “That’s pretty good . . . ‘Splainin’ . . .”

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christi.parsons@latimes.com

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