Europe to Blame for Weak U.S. Job Growth?

In both Chicago and Minnesota in recent days, President Obama told campaign donors that the weak employment growth in the United States is due to Europe’s current debt crisis. Is that even remotely realistic, though?

Sheer Force of Will

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is also Obama’s former chief of staff, introduced him to close to four hundred people who gained entry by shelling over at least $2,500 per person. Emanuel said that, through “sheer force of will,” Obama has helped create jobs, including by leading a rescue of the U.S. auto industry.

Not long after he took front and center, Obama began,

We’re not where we need to be; we’re not there yet; you saw that in today’s jobs report,

Obama told supporters at the Chicago fundraiser. He went on to refer to the crisis as “the cloud that’s coming over from the Atlantic… and it’s having an impact on us.” Held at the Chicago Cultural Center, the president went on to remark his certainty that Romney has a “wonderful family”, but also blamed Romney and his policies for getting “us into this mess in the first place”.

These speeches came just one day after the Labor Department released its monthly employment figures. Only 69,000 jobs were added in May and the unemployment rate is back at 8.2%.

Biggest Problems

Both Obama and Romney have primarily focused on the economic concerns facing the nation. Both have made big promises, albeit vague ones, on how their respective administrations would turn the crisis around. Obama accuses Romney of supporting unethical policies while Romney says Obama doesn’t have what it takes for his vision of an economic change. The one thing they both agree on is the “bad news” the Labor Department’s report delivered.

Before long, Obama captured his audience’s attention with reminders of his accomplishments during his first term, including repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and ending the war in Iraq. He then turned even more solemn and recited what he felt were the nation’s biggest problems, including unemployment and the continuing mortgage crisis. Specifically, he addressed the growing frustrations of underwater homes – meaning the value of the homes are less than the mortgage.

After this particular fundraiser, Obama then attended two more dinners in Chicago, each with per-person donations topping $35,800. During these events, he once again addressed goings-on “across the Atlantic”, followed by an effort to temper the bad news with statements such as,

Despite all that, though, we’re moving in the right direction. But we’re not moving as fast as we could be.

Speaking to the media and supporters at a restaurant in Minneapolis, Minn., the president brought up his “across the Atlantic” speech yet again,

Europe is having a significant crisis in part because they haven’t taken as many of the decisive steps as were needed to deal with the challenge, and that’s weakening Asia and that means it’s harder for our exports.

Before he left, he also found a way to blame Republicans, along with their European counterparts, for the problems around the world. This time, Congress was being blamed for “legislative gridlocks” on everything from highway construction projects to unemployment to taxes.

Blame Republicans

During that event, the president went even further with his blame, saying Republicans in Congress are the reason for legislative gridlock on issues from funding highway construction to taxes, saying they have been exclusively focusing on the goal of defeating him in November. He urged supporters to work for his re-election so that the partisan “fever” gripping Washington can be broken.

I believe that, if we’re successful in this election, when we’re successful in this election, that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that,

he told approximately 100 people who paid $5,000 each to attend this particular, the first of three in Minnesota.

By the time he wrapped up his fundraising efforts in Chicago and Minnesota, it’s estimated he brought in a whopping $5 million.

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