POLAND, Ohio -- President Barack Obama on Friday told voters here in this battleground state that despite another mediocre jobs report, his policies are moving the country in the right direction and he needs them to give him another term.
"It's still tough out there," Obama told a crowd of a few hundred supporters at Dobbins Elementary School's gymnasium.
Unemployment in June stayed steady at 8.2 percent, with the economy adding a below-average 84,000 jobs, according to the monthly jobs report released on the first Friday of every month.
Obama touted the fact that "businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs."
"That’s a step in the right direction," he said. "But we can’t be satisfied."
"I want to get back to a time when middle-class families and those working to get into the middle class have some basic security," he added.
But economists voiced concern that the U.S. economy has once again stalled in the middle of a tepid recovery.
"I’m inclined to believe that we’ve actually settled into a slower trend ... and that is really not where we need to be right now," wrote Jared Bernstein, a former top economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. "The slowdown is apparent across many industries, including manufacturing."
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former economic adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), said the June jobs report was "disappointing," and called it "especially troubling given the downside risks from Europe, the impending fiscal cliff, and the downshift in the global economy."
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called the jobs report "another kick in the gut" for American workers.
"It doesn't have to be this way," Romney said, speaking to reporters from a hardware store in Wolfeboro, N.H., where he has been on vacation this week with his family.
The Obama campaign responded to Romney, allowing the president to avoid engaging with him directly from the stump.
"The president brought us back from the brink of another Depression, but he doesn’t believe our work is done," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "Mitt Romney’s economic policies failed before and instead of creating jobs, they would weaken the economy and undermine the middle class.”
But before Obama even started speaking Friday morning, Republicans jumped on a comment by an economic adviser to the president, Alan Krueger, who said in a written statement that "it is important not to read too much into any one monthly job report."
"Really?" tweeted Joe Pounder, spokesman for the Republican National Committee. Numerous other Republican operatives retweeted the story, and the Romney campaign sent it out to the press with a simple subject header: "Stunning."
And despite Krueger's note of caution, Bernstein wrote that when you compare the past three months to the first quarter of the year, "payrolls are up an average of 75,000 per month, compared to 226,000 in the prior three months."
Obama's stop in Poland was the first campaign-style event on the second day of his two-day bus tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania. He has spent the bulk of his time here in the Buckeye State, one of the most hotly contested of the several states up for grabs in this fall's presidential election.
Earlier Friday morning, the president stopped at Ann's Place Diner in Akron and had breakfast with three tire factory workers from a local Goodyear plant, and then headed to the Summer Garden Food manufacturing plant in nearby Boardman. He will end the bus tour in Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon before heading back to Washington for events at the White House.
Birth Certificate -- "Born In The USA"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/27/obama-birth-certificate-r_n_854248.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(April 27, 2011) --</strong></a> The White House <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/04/27/president-obamas-long-form-birth-certificate" target="_hplink">released</a> President Barack Obama's "long form" birth certificate, adding documentation to a longstanding discussion over his ability to serve as commander in chief. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," Obama said. "We have better stuff to do. I have got better stuff to do. We have got big problems to solve." (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Osama Bin Laden Killed -- "Tonight, Tonight"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/01/osama-bin-laden-dead-killed_n_856091.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(May 1, 2011)</strong></a> -- In a televised address to the nation, Obama announces that Osama bin Laden is dead. His death was the result of a U.S. operation launched today in Abbottabad, Pakistan, against a compound where bin Laden was believed to be hiding. "[T]oday's achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people," Obama proclaimed. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)
Debt Ceiling Deal -- "Gold On The Ceiling"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/obama-debt-ceiling-deal-jobs_n_916285.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Aug. 2, 2011) --</strong></a> After the Senate passed a bill to raise the debt limit, Obama pleaded with Congress to shift their attention to jobs. "I will urge them to immediately take some steps -- bipartisan, common-sense steps -- that will make a difference; that will create a climate where businesses can hire, where folks have more money in their pockets to spend, where people who are out of work can find good jobs," he said. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
Don't Ask Don't Tell -- "Don't Stop Believin'"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/20/barack-obama-dont-ask-dont-tell-repeal-statement_n_971662.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Sept. 20, 2011) --</strong></a> As the ban on gays serving in the military came to an end, Obama hailed the fresh start, celebrating the fact that "patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love." (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Iraq War To End -- "Homeward Bound"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/21/obama-iraq-troop-withdrawal_n_1024108.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Oct. 21, 2011) --</strong></a> Obama announced that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by 2011, fulfilling a promise that dated back to his campaign. "As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end," Obama said. "So today I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year." (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/obama-al-green-apollo-theater_n_1218070.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Jan. 20, 2012) --</strong></a> During a fundraiser at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater, Obama delivered a memorable musical message to his donors. With Rev. Al Green in attendance, Obama sang part of Green's hit song "Let's Stay Together," drawing strong applause from the crowd.
Singing Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/obama-sings-sweet-home-chicago_n_1292576.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(Feb. 21, 2012) --</strong></a> Days after his Al Green rendition, Obama flexed his vocal chords again with a hometown favorite. The East Room of the White House had its blues fix filled when the president started swinging "Sweet Home Chicago."
Gay Marriage -- "Can't Fight This Feeling"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/obama-gay-marriage_n_1503245.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(May 9, 2012) --</strong></a> In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama explained his evolution on the issue, affirming his support for gay marriage. "[A]t a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.
Immigration -- "With Arms Wide Open"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/obama-immigration-order-deportation-dream-act_n_1599658.html " target="_hplink"><strong>(June 15, 2012) --</strong></a> The Obama administration addressed America's immigration issue, announcing that it will halt deportations and grant work permits to young individuals eligible for Dream-Act benefits. "They pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said. "They are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper."(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Health Care Reform -- "Beautiful Day"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/supreme-court-health-care-decision_n_1585131.html" target="_hplink"><strong>(June 28, 2012) --</strong></a> After weeks of speculation that Obama's signature piece of legislation could be overturned, the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is constitutional. "It should be pretty clear that I didn't do this because it's good politics," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/28/obama-health-care-ruling_n_1632953.html" target="_hplink">Obama said</a>. "I did it because it's good for the country." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)