THE RACE: Obama now can call himself job creator
For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama can call himself a job creator.
There are now more U.S. jobs than when he took office. Not by much, but they've moved out of negative territory, according to a Labor Department revision.
It probably won't help Obama much in his race for re-election. The economy is still a long way from firing on all cylinders.
But the revision — showing employers added 386,000 more jobs than had previously been estimated in the 12 months ended in March — was clearly good news for the White House as Obama heads into a crucial week.
The focus of next Wednesday's first presidential debate will be the economy. On Friday the September employment report comes out.
Economists don't expect much change in the jobless figures from August's 8.1 percent unemployment rate.
Still, "we are making progress," said Alan Krueger, chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. The White House can now claim a net gain of about 100,000 jobs under Obama.
Still, unemployment has been stuck above 8 percent since early in Obama's term, budget deficits have topped $1 trillion for four consecutive years and economic growth has slowed to a trickle, expanding at a scant 1.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney portrays Obama as a failed job creator. Romney says he would create 12 million jobs if he's elected president.
Polls have suggested a recent shift in public opinion, with some for the first time showing Obama ahead on handling the economy.
Romney campaigned in Pennsylvania Friday. "My priority is job creation and growing incomes," Romney told donors in Philadelphia "My priority is not trying to punish people who have been successful." He also attended a rally in Wayne, Pa.
Obama had three fundraisers, all in Washington, D.C.
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