The United States added just 80,000 jobs last month, keeping the unemployment rate at an annoyingly high 8.2 percent, despite Thursday's hopeful figures on jobless benefit claims and ADP's private employment estimate. The disappointing employment report will surely supply President Barack Obama's critics with fresh ammunition for their attacks on his economic record, which will make a big difference this close to the election.
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This unemployment report and the next few are especially significant, wrote Annie Lowry and John Harwood in The New York Times, because analysts say this is the time of the election year many undecided voters are making up their minds about who they'll vote for in November. And with the campaign shaping up to address voters' economic anxiety, "the campaign that wins is the campaign best able to address the anxiety. It’s a comfort argument," former John McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt told the reporters. Mitt Romney's strategists are probably feeling fairly comfortable right now.