By Amie Parnes - 11/02/12 03:48 PM EDT
President Obama, responding to the latest jobs report on Friday, touted the “real progress” the nation has made on the economic front, but acknowledged, “we’ve got more work to do.”
With four days to go until the election, Obama sought to drive home the message that he has led the nation out of dire economic times. He told a crowd in swing-state Ohio that the jobs report showed that companies hired more workers in October than “any time in the last eight months.”
The economy added 171,000 jobs in October, while the unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.
“We’ve made real progress, but we are here today because we know we’ve got more work to do,” Obama told the boisterous crowd. “As long as there’s a single American who wants a job and can’t find one, as long as there are families working harder but falling behind, as long as there’s a child anywhere in this country who's languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our fight goes on. We’ve got more work to do.”
“You’ve got folks who work at the Jeep plant who have been calling their employers worried, asking, 'Is it true?' ” Obama said. “ 'Are our jobs being shipped to China?' And the reason their making these calls is because Gov. Romney has been running an ad that says so — except it’s not true.
“Everybody knows it’s not true,” the president continued. “The car companies themselves have told Gov. Romney to knock it off. ... And I understand that Gov. Romney has had a tough time here in Ohio because he was against saving the auto industry and it’s hard to run away from that position when you’re on videotape saying the words, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’
“And I know we’re close to an election, but this isn’t a game. These are people’s jobs. These are people’s lives,” he said.
The Romney campaign has been blitzing the airwaves in Ohio with ads that say the bailed-out automakers GM and Chrysler are expanding in China at the expense of U.S. workers. The automakers have taken the unusual step of publicly pushing back against the ads, but the Romney campaign says nothing in the ads has been refuted by either company.
After Obama's speech Friday, the Romney campaign said the president is the one delivering "false and misleading" attacks about the auto industry.
“The facts are clear: despite his false and misleading attacks, President Obama took the auto companies into bankruptcy. His mismanagement of the process has exposed taxpayers to a $25 billion loss. And these companies are expanding production overseas," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.
"Under President Obama, we have lost 586,000 manufacturing jobs and the unemployment rate is higher than when he took office. Mitt Romney has a plan to strengthen American manufacturing, create 12 million new jobs in America, and deliver a real recovery."
The Obama campaign has made the president's support of the auto bailout a keystone of his campaign, and believes it has helped the president in Ohio, where polls show him with a slight lead.
Obama, who held his 23rd rally in Ohio this year on Friday, will be spending much of his time in the Buckeye State over the next three days. Campaign aides maintain that Ohio is the key to his pathway to 270 electoral votes, and Obama acknowledged as much in his speech.
"You may have noticed everyone is paying a lot of attention to Ohio, and rightfully so,” he said.
— This story was updated at 12:06 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.