Mitt Romney used the April jobs report to rip President Obama on Friday for his handling of the economy.
In an op-ed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Romney said Obama, who will officially launch his reelection campaign on Saturday with rallies in Ohio and Virginia, had offered only hollow promises on the economy.
“We should be seeing numbers in the [range of] 500,000 jobs created per month,” Romney told Fox News. “This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.”
Unemployment dropped to 8.1 percent in April, but that was because workers gave up their search for a job.
“The reason that you’re seeing the unemployment rate go down is because you have more people dropping out of the workforce than you have getting jobs,” Romney continued. “It’s a terrible and very disappointing report this morning.”
In his op-ed, Romney asked: “Where are the jobs?”
“Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt,” Romney wrote. “But when it comes to economic affairs, you're out of your depth. Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I've spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you've done will be a daunting challenge. But I've learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation, and I have a plan to get government out of the way.”
The Obama campaign argues the president inherited a recession from President George W. Bush, and that he is presiding over an economic recovery.
The message is highlighted in a seven-minute Web ad released by Obama’s campaign this week.
“On the day Barack Obama took office, America had already lost 4.4 million jobs in economic disaster, the worst in a generation,” the narrator says.
The ad then ticks off the president’s accomplishments: the stimulus, the auto bailout, increased manufacturing jobs, and credit card industry and Wall Street reform.
The ad reiterates the Obama campaign’s argument that Romney would reinstate the policies of the Bush administration, undoing Obama's accomplishments on the economy.
Romney argues Obama did inherit a crisis but that the president has failed to turn it around after three years on the job.
“I recognize, of course, as do all Americans, that you inherited an economic crisis,” Romney writes in the op-ed. “But you've now had three years to turn things around. The record of those three years is clear. Your policies have failed, not only in Ohio, but across the nation.”
Polling overwhelmingly suggests that the economy and jobs will be the two most important issues to voters in the fall election, and Romney currently has an edge over the president over whom voters believe is better equipped to handle those issues.
In Ohio, polls show Romney and Obama in a neck-and-neck race. It is a state that Romney probably has to win if he is to defeat Obama in the fall.