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Sununu: White House 'numb and dumb' on jobs report

Sununu: White House 'numb and dumb' on jobs report
CNN
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Saturday, August 4, 2012 - 9:25pm

As both sides of the aisle put political spin on Friday's job report, outspoken Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu weighed in, calling the White House and advisers' comments on the report "numb and dumb."

"They're numb because they're insensitive to the 25 million people that are unemployed and underemployed. And they're dumb because they're deceptive," the Romney national campaign co-chairman said Friday on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to former President George H.W. Bush, continued, "There were 162,000 jobs created primarily by the artifact of a seasonal adjustment. There were 175,000 fewer people working last month than the month before. These people -- if (President Obama) wants to brag about 163,000 phantom new workers, the 152,000 who lost their job are not very happy to hear what Mr. Krueger and the president have to say about trying to spin this as good news."

July's jobs report showed an increase in hiring in the private sector but also an increase in the nation's unemployment rate, which a 10th of a percentage point from 8.2% to 8.3% from last month.

Earlier Friday, Alan Krueger, chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, touted the 172,000 new jobs in the private sector, steering away from the rising unemployment numbers.

Obama followed suit, highlighting the private sector portion of the report in remarks in Washington.

"That means that we've now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year," Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Friday. "Those are our neighbors and family members finding work and the security that comes with work."

At a campaign event in Nevada -- a state with unemployment numbers above the national average -- presumptive GOP presidential nominee Romney said the report was a "hammer blow to struggling middle-class families."

"A lot of people are suffering in this country," Romney said. "I think it's an extraordinary failure of policy, a failure of leadership, and I think it's a moral failure for a country as successful and prosperous as our own to go now four years in a mode which feels to many people as a recession."

Sununu also defended the Republican candidate on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's allegations that an unnamed Bain Capital investor told him that Romney had not been paying taxes. Reid and fellow Democrats have been calling for Romney to release more of his tax returns, suggesting that the wealthy businessman may have something in his financial profile that he wants to hide.

Romney has made public the full 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011, with a pledge to release the full year once it's complete. He filed an extension for an October deadline and refuses to release further tax documentation.

A loyal Romney aide, Sununu said the political conversation would veer away from distractions like Reid's comments as the public begins to pay more attention to the campaign -- a shift that he says will happen about a week or two out from the Republican National Convention in late August.

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CNN's Tom Cohen and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

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