Opening the campaign’s last month, Mitt Romney ticked off indicators of economic misery Saturday night to suggest that a drop in unemployment hasn’t reversed what ails the nation. President Barack Obama’s campaign and Democrats posted an impressive fundraising haul, easing the party’s concerns that he would face a significant money disadvantage in the crucial closing days.
Romney rallied in battleground Florida the day after the government reported an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent in September, breaking a 43-month streak of joblessness of 8 percent or higher. The report also risked breaking Romney’s stride, gained in a strong debate performance days earlier.
Persistently high unemployment, long after the recession’s official end, has been a leading threat to Obama’s re-election, and the improvement came as a marked relief to the Obama campaign and a tricky development for his Republican rival.
Romney told an evening rally in Apopka, Fla., that with poverty, the food-stamp rolls and gas prices up, incomes down, college graduates struggling to find work and millions of people who’ve lost jobs no longer trying to get new ones, it’s clear Obama doesn’t know how to fix the economy. “I know how, and I will get the job done.”
Bolstered by the Democratic National Convention, Obama and his party Saturday reported a combined take of $181 million for September, their best fundraising month of the campaign and just short of their record of $190 million in the 2008 campaign, also in September. Romney’s campaign has not released its report for the month yet.
It was oddly quiet one month out. Obama took time off for a 20th anniversary celebration with his wife, Michelle, postponed from the day of the first presidential debate last week. They dined at Bourbon Steak in the Georgetown section of Washington. Romney devoted time to preparing for the next debate, Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., before his rally.