Responding to a grim jobs report, President Barack Obama assured struggling Americans on Thursday that he knows "it's still tough out there" but defended what he described as his "steady" work to help the fitful economy recover from the global meltdown of 2007-2008.
"We knew from the start in 2008 that turning that around wasn't going to happen overnight. It didn't happen overnight, and so we weren't going to reverse it overnight. But we've been steady, we've worked hard," he told a crowd of about 300 people at Dobbins Elementary School in Poland, Ohio.
Obama's remarks, delivered while he was hunting for votes on a two-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania, came after new government data showed the economy created a disappointing 80,000 jobs in June, the latest symptom of an ailing economy weighing down his hopes for reelection.
"It's still tough out there. We learned this morning that our businesses created 84,000 new jobs last month. And that, overall, means that businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs," he said."That's a step in the right direction. But we can't be satisfied because our goal was never to just keep on working to get back to where we were back in 2007. I want to get back to a time when middle-class families--and those working to get into the middle class--have some basic security. That's our goal," Obama said.
The president spoke after Mitt Romney seized on the jobs report to hammer him.
Speaking to reporters at a hardware store in Wolfeburo, N.H., where his family is vacationing this week, the Republican standard-bearer called June's monthly jobs report more proof that Obama has failed to turn around the economy.
"There's a lot of misery in America today," Romney said. "And this kick in the gut has got to end."
Holly Bailey contributed reporting.