The U.S. unemployment rate remained flat in June, which is bad news for President Obama.
The economy added 80,000 jobs in June, according to today's monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but they weren't enough to lower the nation's jobless rate of 8.2 percent.
Mitt Romney denounced Obama for the "unacceptably high" unemployment rate, saying today's jobs numbers are "another kick in the gut to middle-class families."
Romney responded to this morning's report from outside his Wolfeboro, N.H., summer home, where he has been vacationing with his family for the past week. The presumptive GOP nominee said that if elected, he plans to create an economy in which more Americans are able to take vacations.
"I hope more Americans are able to take vacations," Romney said. "If I'm president of the United States, I'm going to work very hard to make sure we have good jobs for all Americans who want good jobs and as part of a good job the capacity to take a vacation now and then with their loved ones."
June is the fourth month of flat growth, which Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus said defines the "Obama economy" as one of "chronically high unemployment."
"Once again, the monthly jobs report brings devastating news for the millions of Americans looking for work," Priebus said in a written statement released to the media. "Our country is coming out of the worst quarter of job creation in two years."
Obama wraps up a two-day bus tour today through Democratic strongholds in northern Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama has driven a message of middle-class economic fairness, criticizing Romney and Republicans' policies as favoring the rich.
"The president brought us back from the brink of another Depression but he doesn't believe our work is done," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement. "He's got a plan to restore the middle class and create a million jobs now that Mitt Romney opposes and Republican leaders have blocked."
LaBolt bashed Romney's economic plan, saying it "wouldn't create one job, wouldn't reduce the deficit one cent, and could lead to another recession."
Obama has drawn favorable coverage from local papers, communicating his message to Democratic voters he'll need to turn out in November, and to independents and Republicans reached by Cincinnati media that has covered his trip.
A stagnant jobs report presumably makes it more difficult for the president to gin up excitement as he wraps up his road trip today with two more stops in Ohio and one in Pennsylvania.
In his response to the jobs report this morning, Romney took aim at the president's bus tour and the "forward" slogan he has been pushing to voters.
"Forward doesn't look a lot like forward to the millions and millions of families who are struggling in America today," Romney said.
A stagnant jobs report presumably makes it more difficult for the president to gin up excitement.
While the White House emphasized silver linings in expanded manufacturing and private-sector work hours -- and while the economy is moving in a positive direction, albeit slowly -- the sluggish improvement is likely to put Obama and Democrats on the defensive.
"It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class and makes us stronger and more secure as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession," Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger said in a written statement.
"There are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making," Krueger added.
"President Obama has proposals to create jobs by ending tax breaks for companies to ship jobs overseas and supporting state and local governments to prevent layoffs and rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers."
Within minutes of the release of the jobs numbers, Crossroads GPS, the deep-pocketed conservative group run by Karl Rove, announced a huge $25 million ad buy attacking Obama for "excuses" he has made about the still-slow economy.
The 30-second spot, which hits the airwaves in nine swing states starting Tuesday, runs through eight quick sound-bites of Obama's "excuses," including the European financial crisis, the earthquake in Japan and the Arab Spring.
The ad will run through early August in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.