Evening Newscasts Wrap: ABC News Political Unit

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LEADS:

All networks lead with the new jobs report. ABC: Betsy Stark/ NBC: Anne Thompson/ CBS: Anthony Mason.

JOB NUMBERS:

ABC's Betsy Stark takes a look at the new job numbers and their effect on the market. According to the labor department, 32,000 jobs were added in July, which was far less than expected. The news sent stocks down for the second day in a row.

NBC's Anne Thompson notes "the anemic jobs report stunned the experts." Today, President Bush stressed the economy is moving forward. Thompson says the job issue could have a "potential impact on the economy and the election."

Roberts said that the unemployment rate dropped, but that only 32,000 jobs were created. CBS' Anthony Mason asks if the economy is stalling, pointing out that the job numbers are weaker than expected. Terrorist, the election, and oil prices might be the problems, said Mason, and the stock market dropped as a result of the news. The jobs created are usually paying less, and 57% earn less than in previous jobs.

CANDIDATES REACT TO JOB NUMBERS:

ABC's Kate Snow reports President Bush "put a spin on the numbers that ran counter to just about everything economists had to say today." Bush SOT. Throughout the day Administration officials "were pleading with the public not to look at that one dramatic figure." But Bush's Chief of Staff has acknowledged that parts of the report are "disappointing." Kerry argued that he could do better; touting his tax and healthcare policies which he says would lower costs. The Bush campaign countered, saying that Kerry would increase federal spending and raise taxes on Americans with higher incomes, which they indicate "is a recipe for slow growth." The latest ABC News poll shows that "voters tend to trust John Kerry more than President Bush to handle the economy by about 11 points."

THE ENERGY POLICIES:

NBC's David Gregory notes "on the campaign trail the blame game has started over the consumer's pain" over rising gas prices. Kerry has stated repeatedly "no young man or woman in uniform should be held hostage for America's dependence on middle east oil." The White House argues that Kerry was against drilling for oil domestically and that the additional production of oil in Alaska could help. Some experts say all this talk of energy independence is unrealistic and that energy solutions are years away. Yet, Democrats and Republicans still have a fundamental disagreement: Democrats are for conservation and Republicans are for exploration.

CBS' Jim Axelrod notes job numbers like today lead a candidate to improvise, as Kerry did while touting his new energy policy. Bush also stopped at a farm today and said the economy was still moving forward, and highlighted the down tic in the jobless rate. Bush says the tax cuts must continue while Kerry's plans to give tax breaks to companies creating jobs while closing loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas. Six million to be spent on Job ad in 20 battlegrounds in the next week for Kerry.

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