Republicans throw cold water on unemployment numbers

The National Republican Congressional Committee blasted out statements targeting more than 50 Democratic House members, claiming Democrats "are still doing everything they can to make it worse."

Republicans are keenly aware that lingering economic problems and high unemployment could doom Obama's reelection efforts and help them shore up control of the House and win back the Senate.

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They are also aware of the opposite scenario: Significant improvement in the economy during the 12 months before the 2012 elections could hand Democrats the evidence they need to successfully argue they have pulled the country out of the economic morass that they say began under President George W. Bush.

But by coming down hard on Democrats just as signs of economic progress are emerging, Republicans risk coming across as tone-deaf and playing directly into the Democratic playbook.

The Democratic National Committee and prominent Obama surrogates have already accused Republicans of rooting for failure for the U.S. economy. Democrats are likely to use glum GOP responses to Friday's positive economic news to further prop up their claims that Republicans want the economy to stay in the doldrums until voters go to the polls one year from now.

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