“The likelihood is that the euro will survive because a breakup would be devastating not only for the periphery, but also for Germany,” Soros said.
Stumbling block for Obama
The developments are casting a shadow over the Obama campaign’s hopes that the president will have the wind of a robust economic recovery at his back for his reelection run.
On Friday, the jobs report offered a near-definitive sign that the economy has suffered a spring slowdown, repeating what happened in 2010 and 2011. The government last week also revised the economy’s growth rate in the first three months of the year to 1.9 percent from 2.2 percent.
Without a significant acceleration in coming months, which forecasters do not expect, the unemployment rate may well stay above 8 percent through the end of the year. Political scientists say that more important than the absolute level of unemployment is the broad trend — but now it is not even clear that will be improving much by November.
In full defensive mode on Sunday, Obama’s top campaign advisers reached back three years to highlight how the president rescued the auto industry and called on Congress to pass his jobs proposals, which were unveiled in September.
“If you look at this jobs report, manufacturing is up, the best record in two decades, largely because of what the president did relative to the auto industry,” campaign adviser David Axelrod said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “What was down was construction, what was down was education — the very things the president has been trying to get Congress to act on were the things that were down.”
But manufacturing represented only 12,000 new jobs last month. And the president’s schedule this week underscores how the twin pulls of the campaign and the problems of the economy are dividing his attention. Obama has three campaign events in New York City on Monday and more in San Francisco and Los Angeles on Wednesday, but only one economic event scheduled: a stop in hard-hit Las Vegas on Thursday.
On Sunday, Romney’s advisers criticized Obama’s record, clearly relishing the political vulnerabilities created by the slowing economy.
“What we really have here is a deficit in leadership,” Eric Fehrnstrom, a top adviser to Romney, said on ABC’s “This Week. “This president came into office without any prior experience running anything. He never even ran a corner store. And I think it shows in the way that he’s handling the economy.”
Staff writer William Branigin contributed to this report.