Speaking to a crowd of nearly 300 people chanting “four more years,” President Barack Obama said Friday private sector job growth is a “step in the right direction,” but the economy must grow faster.
Obama spoke during a private event at Dobbins Elementary School on the second day of a bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Friday morning, the government reported that only 80,000 jobs were created in June. That leaves the jobless rate unchanged at 8.2 percent. Campaigning in New Hampshire, Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney called that rate “unacceptably high” and Obama must take responsibility for failed policies.
Obama admitted “It’s still tough out there” for many Americans.
But before his stop at the school, Obama toured Summer Garden Food Manufacturing on McClurg Road in Boardman at about 9:45 a.m. Summer Garden plans to add about 58 full time workers over the next 36 months and more than 100 in the next 60 months thanks to a new processing Deli Fresh Refrigerated processing line.
“I took some sauce that I’m going to use this weekend,” said Obama. “those are the kinds of companies that started as family businesses that are growing and expanding…”
Obama added that one in eight jobs in Ohio depends on the auto industry, whether they are contained within a manufacturing facility or in nearby restaurants, stores and schools.
“you have some officials saying ‘let’s let Detroit go bankrupt,” said Obama. “we said … We’re going to bet on the the American worker. We’re going to bet on the American industry. And now Chrysler is back. And GM is the No.1 company in the world, and Ford is on the move.”
Obama said what happened in the auto industry can happen in other industries.
“because I believe in manufacturing,” he said. “the future can still be forged in places like Youngstown and Cleveland and Pittsburgh. And I’m going to make sure that happens. I want to make more products stamped with the words: Made in America.”
He also touched on the health care law.
“Nobody should continue to go bankrupt because they get sick,” he said. “I’m proud of the work we did to get that health care law passed. It was the right thing to do.”
He mentioned former U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, D-16th District, several times. He said Boccieri may have lost his congressional seat in 2011 because he voted for the health care law, “but that’s the kind of person he is. I couldn’t be prouder of him for it.”
Obama said voters need to help break a “stalemate” in Congress that he said is preventing stronger job growth.
“We’ve got two fundamentally different ideas about where we should take the country,” he said. “The problem is we have a stalemate in Washington. The election is going to be about how we break that stalemate. The good news is, it’s in your power to break that stalemate.”
Lastly, he touched on ending the war in Iraq.
“Now I think it’s time for the U.S. To take half the money we were spending on the war and use it to pay down the deficit, and take the other half and do some nation-building here at home,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.