US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally on October 6, 2012 in Apopka, Florida. A relieved US President Barack Obama basked in shock good news as unemployment dipped below eight percent to the lowest point of his presidency, stealing headlines from Mitt Romney's thumping debate win. Unexpected data showing the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent electrified Obama's re-election campaign, which was knocked back by the president's grim performance in Wednesday's
by David Jackson, USA TODAY
Mitt Romney and his campaign don't believe the latest jobs report has been doctored.
They believe the reported numbers are bad enough.
Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie brushed past the latest conspiracy theory Sunday, focusing instead on the fact that the unemployment rate remains at a high 7.8%.
"This economy is not doing well," Gillespie said on ABC's This Week. "And the fact that you have a White House celebrating an unemployment rate of 7.8% with 23 million Americans out of work or unemployed or underemployed tells you a lot about the failure of this administration's policies."
Former General Electric boss Jack Welch and others challenged the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report after its release Friday, noting that the unemployment rate dropped sharply -- 8.1% to 7.8% -- even though only 114,000 jobs were created in September.
Welch tweeted: "Unbelievable jobs numbers ... these Chicago guys will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers."
Many Republicans scoffed at the notion, noting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is an independent agency; Romney's aides prefer to focus on numbers as reported.
On ABC, Gillespie cited the number of people who have left the work force during Obama's term: "If labor force participation was what it was when the president took office, unemployment would be around 10.7%."
On the stump, Obama says the lower unemployment is a sign of economic recovery -- and he criticized Republicans for negative spin of the numbers.
The new jobs report "should give us some encouragement," Obama said Friday in Cleveland.
He added: "It shouldn't be an excuse for the other side to try to talk down the economy just to try to score a few political points."