Republicans "hate" signs of any economic recovery because they're hoping a weak economy weighs down President Obama politically in 2012, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Wednesday night.

Frank, the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, said that the GOP was "frantic" about signs of an economic recovery, because they could strengthen Obama's political standing going into his 2012 reelection.

"You know, for the last year, every month, we've seen more private-sector jobs," Frank said Wednesday evening on MSNBC. "And, by the way, that's one of the things the Republicans are frantic about.

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"This economy is starting to recover, and they hate that, because they want to be able to defeat the president based on a bad economy," the veteran Democratic lawmaker added. "I hate to have to say that, but I think that's true."

News on the job front has been encouraging in recent months. The unemployment rate stood at 8.8 percent in March, down from a high of 10.1 percent in October 2009. Unemployment stood above 9 percent throughout all of 2010. The economy also added 216,000 nonfarm payroll positions last month.

Republicans have charged that the recovery hasn't been fast enough and credit positive growth signs in part to the tax-cut extension they negotiated in last year's lame-duck Congress.

The economy has been a cornerstone of Republicans' 2012 campaigns against Obama.

"How has this happened in the nation that leads the world in innovation and productivity?" former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) asked of the economic situation in a video announcing his presidential exploratory committee. "The answer is that President Obama's policies have failed. He and virtually all the people around him have never worked in the real economy. They just don't know how jobs are created in the private sector."