Let’s all understand why the Obama campaign is making the absurd claim that Mitt Romney would not have authorized the killing of Osama bin Laden if he had the chance: The economy stinks under the Obama administration’s watch, and the president’s re-election campaign would prefer that economic issues not be talked about in the run-up to November.
Expect more attempts to spike the bin Laden football after today’s news:
Weaker-than-expected US jobs growth hit financial markets and cast a shadow over President Barack Obama’s plans for a formal launch of his re-election campaign this weekend.
US crude oil prices fell more than $4 a barrel and were trading below $100 for the first time since early February after data showed the economy added only 115,000 jobs in April compared with expectations of 162,000. The S&P 500 dropped as much as 1.5 per cent while yields on US and German 10-year government bonds fell.
Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor, said: “The penny has dropped with investors that the US recovery is not strong enough to lead the world out of the mire.”
Mr Obama will mark the official start of his campaign with rallies in the crucial swing states of Virginia and Ohio as his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, demanded: “Where are the jobs?”
Although disappointing, economists said the April payrolls number was not weak enough to prompt fears of a serious slowdown in the world’s largest economy. But it underscored the challenge for Mr Obama in defending an economic record that has seen a slow recovery from US’s deepest postwar recession.
The unemployment rate fell from 8.2 to 8.1 per cent but that was more a sign of economic weakness than strength as it was driven by people leaving the labour force. The proportion of Americans either working or looking for work fell to its lowest level since 1981.
. . . In April the number of people not in the labor force rose by a whopping 522,000 from 87,897,000 to
88,419,000. This is the highest on record. The flip side, and the reason why the unemployment dropped to 8.1% is that the labor force participation rate just dipped to a new 30 year low of 64.3%.
Every time Mitt Romney is the target of a silly attack, he should respond by saying that the reason for the attacks is that the Obama campaign wants desperately to distract voters from the bad economy. By doing so, Romney will refocus the discussion on the pocketbook issues, and put the Obama campaign back on the defensive by reminding voters that this president’s economic record is nothing to write home about. Romney may want to start by pointing out that when it comes to discussing the job numbers, Team Obama does not seem to understand how bad they are.