Tepid jobs data jolt presidential debate
PITTSBURGH – Disappointing job growth jolted the presidential campaign four months before Election Day, and the candidates quickly put their vastly different views on display, underscoring the economy as the central issue between President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney.
Obama sought consolation from hiring figures that showed at least some job growth still under way, calling them a “step in the right direction” and pleading with voters to stick with him. Romney spoke of misery across the nation, warned Obama would do nothing but deepen it and addressed a disgruntled middle class by saying, “This kick in the gut has got to end.”
Overall, the stand-pat nature of the new data was not a game-changer in the close presidential contest – one in which the president’s approval ratings hover around or slightly below 50 percent and he retains a slight lead, if any, over Romney.
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