President Obama jetted out of Charlotte on Friday for a three-state campaign swing, hoping to capitalize on momentum from the Democratic convention, but he quickly faced new headwinds with the release of a dismal monthly jobs report.
Just 14 hours after wrapping up his nomination acceptance speech, Obama appeared at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., along with first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and Biden’s wife, Jill Biden. It marked the first time that all four have been together on the campaign trail this year.
Obama reportedly had learned of the Labor Department’s August employment report before his convention address. It marked another in a series of unimpressive months, with just 96,000 jobs added to payrolls. Taking the microphone in Portsmouth, the president made only brief mention of the numbers, noting that the private sector has added jobs for 30 consecutive months.
“But that’s not good enough,” he said. “We know it’s not good enough. We need to create more jobs faster. We need to fill the hole left by this recession faster. We need to come out of this crisis stronger than when we went in.”
He pushed Congress to approve his proposal to extend for one year the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 annually, and he lobbied for Republicans to reconsider measures he proposed in his American Jobs Act last fall.
Obama’s senior adviser David Plouffe said Friday that the campaign has “momentum” from the convention but that it does not expect a major bounce in terms of an advantage in the polls. However, he added that he thinks the convention momentum will help drive turnout among Obama supporters in swing states and “in terms of putting together the electoral picture.”
“Our belief is we entered the convention with a small but important lead in most of those battleground states,” Plouffe said, according to the White House press pool report.
In New Hampshire, the president rehashed many of the themes and phrases from his convention speech, framing a stark choice between himself and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. But he also added some new riffs to rip Republicans for pressing for tax cuts for wealthier Americans.
His rivals are so obsessed with tax cuts, Obama told the crowd of 6,000 at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, that they would propose cutting taxes in good times and bad.
“Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to improve your love life,” Obama said sarcastically.
Romney responded to the jobs report Friday morning by calling it the “hangover” after the Democrats’ convention party.
“After 43 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, it is clear that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and his policies haven’t worked,” Romney said in a statement.
After the Portsmouth event, the Obamas and the Bidens were scheduled to fly to Iowa and attend an evening rally at the University of Iowa. This weekend, Obama will campaign without the others during a two-day bus tour in Florida.