Mitt Romney slammed June's weaker-than-expected job growth numbers, calling the nation's 8.2 percent unemployment rate "unacceptably high" and vowing to offer a "better path" if he wins the presidency.
Speaking to reporters at a hardware store in Wolfeburo, N.H., where his family is vacationing this week, the Republican nominee called June's monthly jobs report more evidence that President Barack Obama's policies aren't working.
"There's a lot of misery in America today," Romney said. "And this kick in the gut has got to end."
According to the Labor Department, U.S. employers added just 80,000 jobs in June—the third straight month of stagnant hiring. It wasn't enough to make a dent in the nation's unemployment rate, which has been stuck at 8.2 percent for several months.
Romney, speaking in a more somber tone than usual, pointed to the report as proof that Obama hasn't done enough to jumpstart the nation's struggling economy and suggested his policies have further hurt, rather than helped, encourage job growth.
"These are very difficult times for the American people," Romney said. "The president's policies have clearly not been successful."
Acknowledging Obama's bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania this week, Romney criticized the president's message, suggesting Obama's "forward" campaign slogan ignores the suffering of Americans struggling to find work and make ends meet.
"'Forward' doesn't look a lot like forward to the millions and millions of families that are suffering in this great country," Romney said.
Echoing a message he's repeated on the campaign trail in recent weeks, Romney framed November's election as a "choice" between staying on the same track or choosing an alternative tactic.
"It doesn't have to be this way," Romney declared. "I will offer a different course, a better path."