Mitt Romney at a campaign stop in Orange City, Iowa. He criticizes President… (Nati Harnik / Associated…)
ORANGE CITY, Iowa — As the presidential candidates returned to the campaign trail, Mitt Romney issued a double-barreled critique of his rival’s speech at the Democratic convention and Friday’s weak jobs report, citing both as evidence that President Obama is over his head on economic issues.
At a rally Friday afternoon in Iowa, Romney said he had read the president’s acceptance speech and found it to be “extraordinarily disappointing.” The former Massachusetts governor charged that Obama had not sufficiently addressed the economic challenges that Americans are facing.
He called the employment report — showing the economy added 96,000 new jobs (which led to a drop in the unemployment rate from 8.3% to 8.1%) — a “hangover” after last night’s party in Charlotte, N.C.
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“For almost every net new job created, approximately four people dropped out of the workforce,” Romney told reporters when he landed in Sioux City. “Real incomes, real wages are also not rising. … There's almost nothing the president has done in the last three and a half, four years that gives the American people confidence that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to jobs and the economy.”
During a rally in Orange City, Romney said the fact that nearly 400,000 people had stopped looking for work was “simply unimaginable.”
“The president said that by this time we’d be at 5.4% unemployment. … Instead, we’re at about 8%,” he said. “Had he been able to keep his promise, had his policies worked as he thought they would, there’d be 9 million more Americans working.”
Romney offered more than a few mixed messages Friday. He criticized the president for laying out a whole new set of promises in his speech, but also said it lacked substance. And while he lamented the new economic numbers, he also launched his rally on an optimistic note.
“I’m looking over the hill and seeing what’s going to happen just down the road just a bit,” he said. “And what’s going to happen is America’s about to come roaring back. I’m absolutely convinced.”
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