Changing fortunes in 2012 race as May jobs report gives Romney the spotlight

Published: Friday, June 1 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Obama's team has cited the jobs numbers as a reason to stay the course in November and keep him in office.

"It is critical that we continue the president's economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the deep recession," said Alan Krueger, Obama's top economic adviser.

"The economy is growing. It's creating jobs. But it's not growing fast enough. It's not creating enough jobs," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday. "That's why we have to focus on the things that improve that, improve the economic growth that we've been experiencing now for two and half years."

"I know that these things happen. We go through ups and downs," Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said on CNBC. "May tends to be that month where you do see a decline. But then, slowly, as we've seen in the last two years, we've been able to put back jobs, and that's really the bottom line here that we've not gone below that. We've actually been able to add jobs for the last 27 months."

In a speech given after the release of the numbers, Obama cited the growth of jobs since he took office, saying the nation was facing headwinds, but that better times are ahead. The president also mentioned the the threat of higher gas prices and Europe's fiscal problems as reasons for the tenuous job growth.

"From the moment we first took action to prevent another depression, we knew the road to recovery would not be easy," Obama said. "We knew it would take time, we knew there would be ups and downs along the way."

According to Intrade, Romney's chances of winning in November jumped after the jobs report, and he now carries a 41.3 percent chance of becoming President Romney.

Toby Harnden, the U.S. executive editor of the Mail Online tweeted that the Dow dropped 220 points at the beginning of the president's speech, and continued downward to 252 points during the speech.

Republicans are "full of it," Cassidy argues back at The New Yorker, but the argument that Romney is better suited to oversee the economy is a potent one that President Obama will have to overcome.

"It isn't as if the Republican nominee-elect has a credible solution to the jobs crisis. He doesn't," Cassidy said. "But when things are bad, challengers are held to a lower standard than incumbents. The 'time for change' argument often resonates more strongly with voters than the incumbent's critique of his opponent's plans."

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