Even Democratic strategists have conceded that the May jobs report, with only 69,000 jobs added in May and unemployment going up slightly from 8.1% to 8.2%, have not helped the Obama campaign. "A blow to the gut" is how some of them summed up the figures.
The May figures portend that the economic turnaround, even if it does occur, will not materialize in time to help Barack Obama in the presidential elections. It further means, that bereft of a record of economic accomplishment, the Democratic campaign will be increasingly reliant on trying to paint Mitt Romney as an even worse solution for the American economy.
This will force the Democrats to campaign against what the polls have shown to be Romney's strongest asset, namely that he is regarded as a better steward of the economy than Barack Obama.
Additionally, some of the presidential surrogates may balk at an overly negative campaign - witness the recent cases involving Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Patrick Duval and most recently former president Bill Clinton, who pulled their punches on Romney or actually had some good things to say about his business career.
The Romney campaign was quick to take advantage of the figures. In an interview with CNBC, the candidate remarked "Jobs are job one for the presidency. And this president, instead, put in place Obamacare, which his own team concluded would slow the recovery, and it has. He decided instead of getting people back to work, he’d fight for something he thought was historic.”
Republican Chairman Rence Priebus added: “If elected president, Governor Romney will end President Obama’s job-killing policies. Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney actually has the experience and the know-how to get our country moving, finally, in the right direction.”
Obama, for his part, tried to blame the crisis on Europe and high gasoline prices, negatives which he hopes are now slowly coming under control.
He also blamed Republican obstructionism in Congress. Obama called upon Congress to move on his bills, eliciting a rejoinder from the Republican-controlled House that they have 30 such job promotion bills awaiting approval by the Democrat-controlled Senate.