Former Obama adviser Rattner: ‘Nobody is happy’ with pace of job growth

Former Obama auto bailout czar Steven Rattner defended the administration's handling of the economy Sunday, saying that while "nobody is happy" with the current pace of job creation, the president was leading the nation on the path to recovery.

“Nobody is happy with the rate of job creation today. I believe that without the policies that the president put in place, we would not even have this level of job creation," said Rattner on Fox News Sunday.

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Friday’s jobs report showed the economy only added 69,000 jobs in May, with the unemployment rate rising to 8.2 percent.

The figures are a worrying sign to many on the Obama campaign with polls consistently showing that voters rank the economy as the most important issue. 

Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney hammered Obama on Friday, calling the jobs report “devastating.”

Rattner though said that without the administration's efforts, in particular, the stimulus package the nation "would have had unemployment substantial higher than we've had over the last years."

He said he saw little likelihood of another recession but warned that Europe's prolonged debt crisis could eventually drag down the U.S. economic recovery.

"The thing to worry about most in the short-term is probably Europe and what might happen there. That is the thing that could tip us further downward."

Rattner also pressured lawmakers to act on Obama's "to-do list" of economic measures to spur job growth. 

"He has a plan in front of Congress. Congress has not acted, and the president has limited powers as you know," he said.

Rattner, a longtime Wall Street player, also defended Obama's attacks on Romney's record at private equity giant Bain Capital, saying that the president had "found the right balance in his conversations about Wall Street."

The Obama campaign's attacks on Romney's private equity work have invited criticism from many Democrats including Rattner, who in January had called them "unfair."

On Sunday, Rattner said the administration had made clear they respected private equity work and were instead focusing their attacks on Romney's qualifications to turn around the economy.

"I think he has made clear that private equity is a perfectly legitimate respectable business and important part of our financing activities. And he said the same thing about Wall Street," said Rattner about Obama.

"On the other hand, the president also said that we can't be in a situation where you have a relatively few number of people doing so well and the rest of the country doing so poorly and we need to find not necessarily redistributionist policies but policies that will bring up the 99 percent who are not participating."

Romney's campaign has touted his Bain experience, saying that it gave the GOP contender the skills needed to create jobs.

Rattner acknowledged Romney's qualifications gained at Bain, but said Obama's experience helming the economy since his election had the edge.

"Decades in the private sector give you an insight into all of the things that you speak about. But when Romney turns around and attacks the president's qualifications. I would say three years in the trenches, fighting this economic war every single day, dealing with economic policy matters, auto rescues, bank rescues, every single day for three years actually gives you more qualifications to be president," he said.