Obama vs Romney on Jobs: GOP Nominee and Media Respond Sharply to Weak Job Growth

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney responded to the Friday jobs report, calling it a "hangover" for America, especially after the spike in media focus and interest in Democratic rival Barack Obama during the Democratic National Convention.

The U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate ticked down from 8.3% to 8.1% according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell, but only because more people gave up looking for work.

The August job number was less than the estimate of 125,000 new jobs. "The [Labor Department] also says 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated. The economy has added just 139,000 jobs a month since the beginning of the year, below 2011's average of 153,000," reports the NY Daily News.

Friday's report was the 30th straight month of private-sector job gains, a point Obama and his allies are certain to spotlight.

Romney on Friday made the following statement on the August unemployment report:

“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover. For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely. This is more of the same for middle class families who are suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. After 43 straight months of unemployment above 8%, it is clear that President Obama just hasn't lived up to his promises and his policies haven't worked. We aren’t better off than they were four years ago. My plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million new jobs by the end of my first term. America deserves new leadership that will get our economy moving again.”

The media also responded negatively over the job numbers, refering to it as "anemic,” “losing steam,” “a disappointment,” “flat-out bad,” and “dreadful.”

Here are some highlights:

The Wall Street Journal: “Overall Jobs Momentum Slows” (The Wall Street Journal, 9/7/12)

Boston Herald: “Anemic Jobs Growth…” “The lower jobless rate is a sign that more Americans have given up looking for work and the anemic jobs growth sets the table for the Federal Reserve to pump more money into the ailing economy at its meeting next week.” (Boston Herald, 9/7/12)

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake: “In Fact, The 368,000 People Who Dropped Out Of The Workforce In August Is The Largest Attrition Since December 2010.” (The Washington Post, 9/7/12)

Bloomberg’s Betty Liu: “And With A Report Like This, This Makes President Obama’s Job A Whole Lot Tougher To Sell The Next Four Years.”  LIU: “This is really the time, Leo right, when they start deciding who they are going to go with.  And with a report like this, this makes President Obama’s job a whole lot tougher to sell the next four years.” (Bloomberg, 9/7/12)

Bloomberg’s Peter Cook: “The Lowest Participation Rate We’ve Seen Since 1981.” “You had Americans leaving the labor force.  In fact, you’ve got the labor force shrinking by 368,000.  The number of employed falling by more than the number of employed.  The participation rate, 63.5%.  That is the lowest participation rate we’ve seen since 1981.  12.5 Million Americans unemployed, according to the household survey.  Again, huge factor hanging over the election.” (Bloomberg, 9/7/12)

Bloomberg’s Michael McKee: “This Is Not A Good Report … The Labor Force Appears To Be Losing Steam…” “Across the board, this is not a good report when you are coming at it from the perspective of the Federal Reserve. First of all, the revisions to the prior months, we saw July and June revised lower again. June had already previously been revised down. So, the labor force appears to be losing steam, or at least the idea that companies hiring.” (Bloomberg, 9/7/12)

CNBC’s Becky Quick: “The Jobs Number Today Was A Disappointment … It’s Hard To Spin This As A Positive Number.” CNBC’s BECKY QUICK:  “Yeah, the jobs number today was a disappointment, Chuck. … If you looked at the unemployment rate, it dropped.  So, there are some who will look at this and say it was decent.  The headline coming out tomorrow morning is that this dropped to 8.1% from 8.3%, but the economists that I talked to, Chuck, said that it's hard to spin this as a positive number.” (MSNBC, 9/7/12)

CNBC’s David Faber: “Depressing When You Think About It … Not A Great Picture.” “All about the labor participation rate and that coming down, which is depressing when you think about it. Fewer people looking for work. Perhaps some staying in school longer because they know there’s not a market for jobs. But overall, not a great picture.” (CNBC, 9/7/12) 

CNBC’S Diane Swonk: “It Was All Negative.” QUICK: “You guys were all expecting more jobs across the board.” … SWONK: “The labor force strength, and it was both sides. It was all negative. The labor force shrank along with the participation rate fell.” CNBC’s STEVE LIESMAN: “There are 250,000 fewer unemployed, so the number of unemployed did fall by 250.” QUICK: “Those people just stopped looking for jobs.” (CNBC, 9/7/12)

CNN’s Ali Velshi: “This Is Not The Hopeful Number That the Administration And Frankly The Country Was Looking For.” VELSHI: “But this is not the hopeful number that the administration and frankly the country was looking for. I would say that you would have to characterize this as the glass half empty, Soledad.” (CNN, 9/7/12)

Fox News’ Stuart Varney: “Ok, I Say This Is A Flat-Out Bad Report On The State Of The Economy.” (Fox News, 9/7/12)

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin: “A Dreadful August Jobs Report…” “On the heels of the President's widely panned speech, a dreadful August jobs report was released this morning.” (The Washington Post, 9/7/12)

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