Discuss as:

Romney: Jobs report a 'kick in the gut'

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney responds to the dismal June jobs report from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

WOLFEBORO, N.H. -- Mitt Romney called a rare press conference this morning to respond to June's tepid jobs report, calling the unchanged unemployment rate "unacceptably high," and repeatedly referring to the numbers as a "kick in the gut."

In the hastily-called press conference, Romney's first in more than a month, the presumptive GOP nominee conceded that some factors in the slow pace of jobs growth may be out of President Obama's control, but said also that the president had failed at taking advantage of opportunities to improve the labor market that he could influence. 

"In any jobs figures, there are going to be factors that come and go that you can't control, but the things you can control you want to get right," Romney told reporters gathered in a hardware store here. "In the case of President Obama, this is not a monthly statistic or even a yearly statistic. We've looked at now almost four years of policies that have not gotten America working again."

Romney also responded broadly to critics who say his own economic proposals have not been specific enough by referring the questioner back to his 59-point economic plan, released last fall, and by deflecting the question back towards the president, whom Romney claimed had not offered sufficient new proposals to spur growth himself.

"I don't say much to critics," Romney said. "I have put out 59 steps for how I would get the economy going, and I don't think I have seen any from the president that show what he's planning on doing. I laid out my 59 steps. Take a look at them, I think you'll find them very specific."

Romney continued. Referring to the president's campaign bus tour through the Rust Belt, which began yesterday, he said, "How do you go across Pennsyvlania and Ohio and not talk about being serious about creating jobs through manufacturing policies that make America more attractive for investment and growth?"

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt responded in a statement.

“The President brought us back from the brink of another Depression but he doesn’t believe our work is done -- he’s got a plan to restore the middle class and create a million jobs now that Mitt Romney opposes and Republican leaders have blocked," LaBolt's statement read in part. "Mitt Romney says he has a better path, but over the past decade we saw where that took us -- to the slowest job growth since World War II, the collapse of our financial system and the deterioration of the middle class."

Romney has spent the past week here in Wolfeboro vacationing with his family, and has been spotted riding a jet ski and boating around the lake with a bevy of grandchildren in tow. Today, with his eldest son Tagg waiting in the wings, he also responded to charges that by criticizing the president's frequent golf outings and occasional vacations he was acting hypocritically to vacation now. Romney deftly turned the answer back toward the economy.

"You know, I'm delighted to be able to take a vacation with my family," he said. "I think all Americas appreciate the memories they have with their children and their grandchildren. I hope more Americans are able to take vacations, and if I'm president of the United States I'm going to work very hard to make sure we have good jobs for all Americans who want good jobs and as part of a good job the capacity to take a vacation now and then with their loved ones."