President Barack Obama gets grim job news; Mitt Romney pounces on it
Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs was up early to pronounce that the Democratic convention had achieved its goals. Speaking before the jobs numbers were released, the adviser said the president "understands we still have a long way to go" to strengthen the economy.
Gibbs acknowledged there's a far different dynamic to this race than the excitement and novelty that were associated with Obama's historic first run for the White House.
"This isn't 2008, we understand that," he said on "CBS This Morning."
The November election could turn on whether voters see the economy as improving, remaining stagnant or getting worse under Obama.
Friday's numbers gave both campaigns something to work with. Supporters of the president focused on the drop to 8.1 percent, suggesting it shows the economy is on the mend, if slowly. Republicans kept their eyes on the raw job numbers.
Either way, the numbers suggest that not much has happened over the past month to change the overall picture of a painfully slow recovery.
Romney and the Republicans argue that three years of unemployment above 8 percent and minimal economic growth are valid reasons to fire Obama after one term. The incumbent contends that, having inherited one of the worst economic crises in history, he needs more time to turn the nation around.
"The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades," he said in his convention speech.
For the candidates, the two months to Nov. 6 promise a high-stakes mix of debates, multiple appearances in a dozen battleground states and hours of campaign speeches. Both will be scrapping for the precious commodity of electoral votes to reach the winning number of 270, leaving no competitive state quiet this fall. The airwaves will be inundated with ads from the campaigns and outside groups, with Romney likely to have more money to spend.
The GOP nominee has new ads running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia — mapping out the key battleground states where the race will play out. His campaign has purchased about $4.5 million in television advertising for the next several days, according to officials who track such spending.
Cassata reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont in Sioux City, Iowa, contributed to this report.
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