Both major-party presidential candidates have weighed in on the discouraging jobs reports for last month with their usual themes -- Democrat Barack Obama warning that his Republican rival John McCain would continue the Bush administration policies causing the damage, and McCain warning that Obama would raise taxes and worsen matters.
“Today, Americans woke up to the sad news that 159,000 jobs were lost last month alone, making September the ninth straight month of job loss. With three-quarters of a million jobs lost this year, and millions of families struggling to pay the bills and stay in their homes, this country can’t afford Senator McCain’s plan to give America four more years of the same policies that have devastated our middle-class and our economy for the last eight. Instead of Senator McCain’s plan to give tax breaks to CEOs and companies that ship jobs overseas, I will rebuild the middle-class and create millions of new jobs by investing in infrastructure and renewable energy that will reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. I also call on Congress to pass an immediate rescue plan for our middle-class that will provide tax relief, save one million jobs, and save our local communities from harmful budget cuts and painful tax increases,” Obama said in his statement.
And in a speech he is to give in Abington, Pa., Obama links the jobs report to Thursday night's vice presidential debate.
"You know, there were a lot of noteworthy moments in that debate, but there’s one that sticks out this morning. It’s when Governor Palin said to Joe Biden that our plan to get our economy out of the ditch was somehow a job killing plan," Obama plans to say, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.
"I wonder if she turned on the news this morning. Because it was just reported that America has experienced its ninth straight month of job loss. Just since January, we’ve lost more than 750,000 jobs across America, 7,000 in Pennsylvania alone. This is the economy that John McCain said – just two weeks ago – was fundamentally strong. This is the economy that my opponent said made great progress under the policies of George W. Bush. And those are the economic policies that he proposes to continue for another four years.
"So when Senator McCain and his running mate talk about job killing, that’s something they know a thing or two about. Because the policies they’re supporting are killing jobs every single day."
McCain's statement: "Today's report of another 159,000 lost jobs confirms what America's working men and women have understood for months: our nation's economy is on the wrong track. It is imperative that Congress act to address the financial crisis while protecting taxpayers and being good stewards of their dollars. But we must do more. America's middle class needs help from a government that is truly standing on their side and not in their way. I am committed to getting to the roots of this crisis -- reforming Washington and cleaning up the mess created by the greed and crony capitalism of government-backed mortgage giants -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I will reverse out-of-control spending, end the wasteful and corrupting practice of earmarks, and get the government budget back to balance. I will reform health care to control costs and better serve American families, open markets around the globe for our products, cut taxes, and expand domestic production of energy to eliminate the ability of international oil markets to hold our economy hostage. I will create jobs and get the economy on the right track.
"Unlike Senator Obama, I do not believe we will create one single American job by increasing taxes, going on a massive spending binge, and closing off markets. Our nation cannot afford Senator Obama's higher taxes."
This afternoon, McCain's campaign launched a spot on accusing Obama of dishonesty calling himself a tax cutter.
"He's not truthful on taxes," the announcer says, citing the campaign's claim that Obama voted to raise taxes or voted against reducing them a total of 94 times.
That claim, however, has been declared misleading by independent fact-checking groups, who say it implies that Obama wanted to raise taxes across-the-board, when he has voted consistently to raise taxes on the wealthy but not on lower- and middle-income taxpayers.
“While the McCain campaign continues to feel no shame in repeating one of the most discredited lies of the election, their own candidate is offering a health care plan that will actually tax people’s benefits for the very first time. Barack Obama will cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families and make health care affordable and available for every single American,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.
UPDATE: This evening, the Obama campaign hit back with a web ad knocking down the 94 tax vote figure.
"McCain and his surrogates have continued to make this claim despite numerous independent fact checkers confirming that it is 'false' and 'phony,' " said a statement with the announcer-less ad. "What John McCain won’t tell you is that using the same absurd and dishonest method of calculation employed by his campaign, he voted for 105 tax increases since 2005 and at least 477 tax increases since he entered Congress."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.