May Unemployment Rate Dooms Barack Obama

With unemployment now at 8.2 percent, Mitt Romney is poised to gain ground with voters.

By SHARE
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President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C.

Very few of us could have predicted three years ago that when President Bush came to his White House portrait ceremony, he would appear the steadier hand than the sitting leader of the free world.

Yet, that was very much the case on Thursday. President Obama appeared unsure both in his remarks and demeanor while President Bush exemplified steadiness.

The bad news for President Obama is that was the day before what might go down as the breaking point for the Obama presidency.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Friday, June 1, 2012, could become "Doomsday" for the reelection effort of President Obama. We learned that job growth in May was the lowest in a year, unemployment rose to 8.2 percent with the underemployment (or "real unemployment") rate climbing to 14.8 percent.

Add to these woeful data points the fact that the GDP grew at an annualized rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 (down from a rate of 3 percent at the end of 2011), and you have a full picture of the U.S. economy as a ship without a captain.

There is still unquestionably a long time until the November presidential election and a lot can happen in five months. However, the electorate's perception that the president is listless on the one issue that matters the most—the economy—is going to be very hard to overcome. Case in point—another statistic that President Obama and his team should look at very closely—the Gallup Tracking Poll for the week of May 24 to 31, which had Mitt Romney in the lead, came in Friday.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

It does not take a political genius to predict the effect of Friday Doomsday on those numbers.

On the other side, Mitt Romney continues to gain in battleground states from Nevada to Virginia, Florida to Pennsylvania, and beyond, as well as making leaps among women and young voters. The reason for this steady advance has been Romney's dogged focus on the economy. It is also that focus that has rendered the Obama team's "Bain attacks" a boomerang.

Romney has to stay the course—tout his views of where the economy is today, should be today, and will be if he is elected. Coupled with the complete inefficacy of the Obama White House these efforts by Romney are due to result in November 6, 2012 being the end of the Obama presidency.

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