The Straits Times
Published on Nov 02, 2012

Obama dodges jobs data time bomb; Romney pounces


HILLIARD, Ohio (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama dodged a serious last-minute blow to his re-election hopes on Friday, with the release of data showing the sluggish US economy created more jobs than expected last month.

Republican Mitt Romney, however, seized on an uptick in the jobless rate by a tenth of point to 7.9 per cent to bemoan an economy at a "virtual standstill" and said Americans would choose on Tuesday between prosperity and stagnation.

"For four years, President Obama's policies have crushed America's middle class," Mr Romney said in a statement. "When I'm president, I'm going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last."

Mr Obama was due to give his reaction to the unemployment numbers at his first rally of the day in the battleground state of Ohio, the epicentre of the last Friday of the White House race, where Mr Romney was also campaigning.