Senate Candidate Tom Smith Pounces On Jobs Report

Colby Itkowitz
Allentown Morning Call

Republican U.S. Senatecandidate Tom Smith used Friday’s dismal jobs report to blame his opponent, incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, for the economy’s tortoiselike turn around.

Smith, who has been slow to get the general election started after winning the GOP primary in late April, leapt at the opportunity to tie Casey to Barack Obama and the both of them to the fragile economy.

“A stagnant economy is undesirable, a shrinking economy is absolutely unacceptable and the Washington politicians should be working around-the-clock to resolve this economic turmoil,” Smith said in statement. “I am disappointed the Obama-Casey agenda has placed our economy on the backburner, after their so-called $1 trillion taxpayer-funded ‘stimulus’ failed to keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent as promised. It is time Congress get serious about rolling back the job-killing regulations that have continued to stifle our recovery and stop their out-of-control spending habit.”

The news Friday that unemployment in May had upticked to 8.2 percent and that just 69,000 jobs were added was devastating news for the Obama campaign whose hopes for a second term hinge greatly on the economy showing signs of improvement. Smith, who is mostly unknown in the state, will dedicate most of his campaign message to linking Casey to Obama with the aim of winning over disillusioned voters.

Democrats have hit back, blaming the poor jobs report on Republicans in Congress not taking up Obama’s jobs plan. which Obama recently made into a “to-do list” for Congress. Among other ideas, the list includes a tax credit for companies that add new jobs. That particular plan has been a signature proposal of Casey’s for the last several years.

Casey serves as chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. In that capacity. he released a statement on the jobs report as well.

“Today’s report shows that the private sector has added jobs for 27 consecutive months, but the slow rate of growth makes it clear more needs to be done,” he said. “The economy is still not adding jobs quickly enough and stronger job growth is needed to lower the unemployment rate.”

In the same statement, Casey urged Congress to pass next week the Paycheck Fairness Act that would close the income gap between male and female workers. Women are a critical demographic in most election cycles.

“Closing the pay gap will help families make ends meet and will provide a much needed boost to our economic recovery,” he said.

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