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Romney, Obama send out troops to spin the bad news on jobs

The latest news on US employment is grim – fewer jobs created than expected and an unemployment rate that ticked up to 8.2 percent. On Sunday, the Obama and Romney campaigns sent surrogates to spin the news on TV talk shows.

By Staff writer / June 3, 2012

Job seekers fill out applications during the annual Skid Row Career Fair at the Los Angeles Mission in Los Angeles on May 31.

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Surrogates for Mitt Romney and President Obama trolled the TV talk shows Sunday, giving their spin on Friday’s dismal jobs numbers and setting the scene for the presidential campaign’s main point of contention: Who’ll be the best man to deal with the troubled US economy.

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"Nobody is happy with the rate of job creation today, but I believe without the policies the president put in place we wouldn't have even this level of job creation today," former Obama auto czar Steve Rattner told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

The economy added just 69,000 jobs in May as the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent. More troubling for Obama could be the revision in the growth rate of the gross domestic product for the first quarter from 2.2 percent to 1.9 percent. A president seeking reelection historically needs to head into the fall with a GDP growth rate over 3 percent to have a good chance at victory, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia told the Boston Globe.

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But Mr. Rattner and others in the Democratic camp are focusing on the hand dealt Obama when he took office in 2009.

"President Obama arrived to find 700,000 jobs a month being lost in this country," he said." "Since early 2010, when the job picture began to recover, we've added over 4 million jobs in this country – we’ve added jobs every month since then."

(For their part, very few Republicans extol former president George W. Bush’s record as the economy headed toward a ditch.)

Also speaking on Fox News, Romney advisor Ed Gillespie hammered the harm he says Obama is doing to “job creators” – specifically, the cost to small businesses of “Obamacare” and delays in building the Keystone pipeline.

“This is a hostile environment for job creation in our economy and that's why, frankly, it has a sense of urgency in terms of this year's election to be able to turn things around because the only thing that's going to change it are changing the policies and that means changing the person in the White House,” Mr. Gillespie said. “Governor Romney’s experience and his record and his positive agenda for turning this country around, I think, are what’s going to prevail at the end of the day.”

"It's not that we don't think that this president is trying,” Romney campaign senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom said on ABC’s “This Week” roundtable. “I think he is.”

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