THE RACE: Obama: Economy sound but GOP undermining

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By TOM RAUM, Associated Press

President Barack Obama acknowledges the outlook has darkened some, but suggests the fundamentals of the American economy are sound and will get better if voters just stand with him.

That sounds a little like the argument made in 2008 by Republican nominee Sen. John McCain.

McCain's claim of a fundamentally sound economy — at a time when the financial system was nearing collapse, joblessness was climbing and the housing market cratering — was ridiculed by then-candidate Obama and congressional Democratic leaders.

It was even challenged by many Republicans.

In fact, the economy continued to worsen throughout 2008 and sank further in 2009, resulting in the deepest recession since the Great Depression, one whose devastating effects linger today.

Obama said Friday he wanted to "make sure that we continue to have a strong, robust recovery." While some sectors remain weak, "keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months," he told reporters.

He blamed Republican intransigence over his proposals for the fact that more jobs haven't been created.

That's far from the bleak economic landscape painted daily by Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In St. Louis on Thursday, Romney accused the president of a failure of "tragic proportion."

"Record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or just disappeared from the workforce or could only find part-time jobs," Romney said.

Four years ago, McCain asserted, "I have a great belief that the fundamentals of our economy are strong. Very strong."

It all depends on one's perspective.

After his economy remarks, Obama was meeting with President Benigno Acquino of the Philippines and honoring Super Bowl champions New York Giants. Romney campaigned in Utah with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

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