Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney threw cold water on President Obama’s promise for improving the country’s future, calling Friday’s jobs report “the hangover” from the previous night's Democratic National Convention.
The Labor Department estimated that the U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs in July, and that unemployment fell to 8.1 percent because hundreds of thousands of Americans gave up looking for work.
“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover,” said Romney in a statement. He went on to blame Obama for 43 straight months of unemployment above 8.1 percent.
In a later interview with Fox News, Romney called the report “disappointing,” saying it confirms his argument that “we’re going in the wrong direction.”
"I know the White House keeps saying that you can’t look at just monthly numbers," he said. "But if you look over the last several quarters, the last several years, you see the continued pattern, which is that we’re not creating the jobs we need to create to put Americans back to work. For every net new job created, about four people dropped out of the workforce. So we’re going in the wrong direction.”
Romney also cited the lack of a rise in wages: “So no increase in wages, declining wages actually, declining number of people being able to find work, people dropping out of the workforce — it’s another continuation of very bleak news on the unemployment front.”
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Romney’s running mate, also castigated Obama for the jobs numbers. “This is not even close to what a recovery looks like,” Ryan said in an interview on CNBC.
Talking with reporters after the Fox interview, Romney characterized the Democratic National Convention's central message as “four more years of the last four years.”
"I don't think the American people want four more years of the last four years," he said. "I think they want to see more jobs, they want to see their kids coming out of college able to get jobs, they want to see rising incomes again. There's no question if they listened to the president last night, he gave them no confidence whatsoever that he has any plan to make America's economy start to create the jobs he ought to be creating.”
Romney told reporters he's satisfied with the results of last week’s Republican convention even though it has not provided him with much of the traditional “bounce” in the polls.
“I'm pleased people got to know me better,” he said. “That's one of the things we hoped to receive from our convention. Rather than 30-second ads we had much more time to talk to American people. Those that took the time to watch and listen in depth to the things that were said in the convention, I think got a better picture of what I stand for, what I do to get America working again.”
Romney had a ready answer to Obama’s crack during his Thursday speech that his rival wouldn’t be ready for diplomacy in Beijing because he couldn’t go to London without offending the British — a reference to the controversy that the former Salt Lake City Olympics organizer ignited when he highlighted some of the pre-Olympic problems in London.
“I'm very pleased that my Olympic experience allows me to talk about the Olympics in a straight-talk manner, and I think it would be appropriate if the president would talk to China in a straight-talk manner,” Romney said. “They have manipulated their currency for well over a decade. They have taken American jobs and I think it's totally appropriate to show backbone and strength as we deal with other nations around the world. Nothing wrong with telling people the truth."