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Romney: Jobs report a 'harsh indictment' of Obama's policies

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney talks about today's bleak jobs report, repealing Obamacare and his role in private equity.

 

SAN DIEGO -- Mitt Romney declared May's disappointing jobs report a "harsh indictment" of President Obama's stewardship of the economy, accusing the president of being overly focused on "legislative achievements" instead of putting Americans back to work.

"The president's policies and his handling of the economy has been dealt a harsh indictment," Romney said in an interview on CNBC. "In many respects their policies have made it harder for the economy to recover."

Romney scheduled the appearance in reaction to a new government report on Friday that showed the economy added 69,000 jobs in May -- well below expectations -- and that the unemployment rate had ticked upward to 8.2 percent.

The dismal numbers gave Romney ammunition to prosecute his case against Obama as a manager of America's economy.

"Jobs are job No. 1 for the presidency," Romney said.

Romney's argument on CNBC was largely similar to the one he makes on the campaign trail: that the recovery has been dampened by Obama's policies. Romney said the president's focus on "legislative achievements," like green energy policies, taxes, and health care reform, which Romney asserted would slow the recovery.

"He decided instead of getting people back to work he’d fight for something he thought was historic, and frankly the American people don’t want it and we can’t afford it," Romney said.

Economists have attributed some of the struggles in the U.S. to the ongoing monetary crisis in Europe, but Romney said that was no excuse for Obama.

"Of course the developments around the world always influence our jobs, but we should be well into a very robust recovery right now," Romney said, noting several times during the interview that the unemployment rate has remained above eight percent for 40 straight months -- longer than the Euro crisis."

The former Massachusetts governor said the most significant prescription to instill confidence in businesses in the near term would be to "elect a new president," and that his energy, tax and spending policies would stimulate more robust growth in the private sector.

Romney also voiced opposition to a third wave of so-called "quantitative easing," a stimulative effort by the Federal Reserve that, critics fear, could lead to inflation.

Beyond the economy, Romney also addressed some of the larger political issues to plague his campaign this week.

Three days after appearing at a fundraiser with controversial supporter Donald Trump, who has continued to question whether President Obama was born in the United States, Romney was asked again why he does not simply tell one of his most prominent surrogates to drop the issue.

"I disagree with it," Romney said. "there's no question that the President was born in the United States of America,"

Romney added that he doesn't tell his supporters what to think, but that Trump "knows what I believe about this."

The presumptive GOP nominee also pushed back on the Obama campaign's criticism of his private sector record.

"I'm happy to embrace my record in private equity," he said, pointing also to an interview given last night by former President Bill Clinton, who said Romney's business career was "sterling."