CNN's Soledad O'Brien once again jumped to the defense of the Obama campaign, as she tried to argue on Monday that the economy is "trending" in the President's favor. She countered Romney aide Andrea Saul who hit Obama's record of net job loss while in office.
"When you say 'hasn't created net jobs,' of course you are talking about there was so much job loss that even started to happen before the President even came in," she lectured Saul. "They're rebuilding from that, so I'm going to correct you on that if I can." What Soledad did not admit is that while unemployment has slid to 8.1 percent, the labor force participation rate is the lowest in decades.
In fact, if the labor force participation rate was the same now as when Obama took office, unemployment would be at 11.1 percent. While April's jobs report showed 115,000 jobs added, around 350,000 people stopped looking for work – dropping themselves outside the official "unemployment" headcount.
Furthermore, April's jobs count was well below what was expected. The jobs growth was the least since October and slowed for the second straight month, raising concern over the economic recovery.
Despite this, Soledad remained optimistic about the economy. "But if you actually look at the way the economy is trending, it favors President Obama at this moment," she insisted. She also fought Saul over the net jobs loss under President Obama, arguing that jobs have been added after the economic collapse which began before Obama took office.
"And we're rebuilding, so I think people could argue that those have been jobs created as an economic collapse is trying to rebound," argued O'Brien, who still admitted that Obama has not created any jobs overall since he started his presidency.
A brief transcript of the segment, which aired on May 7 on Starting Point at 8:36 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: But if you actually look at the way the economy is trending, it favors President Obama at this moment. I mean, isn't that sort of the $64,000 question is where's it going to go, and how that goes will determine what kind of leverage Governor Romney has with voters, right?
ANDREA SAUL, Romney campaign press secretary: Governor Romney's always said that President Obama didn't create the recession, but the fact of the matter is he hasn't made things better for people. When you look at his speech this past weekend as well, he kept saying the same (Inaudible) that he said in 2008, will you be better off four years from now? He seems to forget, and I think wants to pretend, that he hasn't been in charge the past three and a half years, and that people's current economic situations have been – have happened on his watch. And so Governor Romney's going to be talking about his vision for the future, but President Obama has a record and we're going to be looking at that and so will voters.
O'BRIEN: When you say "hasn't created net jobs," of course you are talking about there was so much job loss that even started to happen before the President even came in. They're rebuilding from that, so I'm going to correct you on that if I can. I want to talk about women voters –
SAUL: Well no. Just from the start, from when he started his presidency, I'm not counting from before he started. Since he started his presidency, he's not created any jobs. Not when you look at the full picture of the economy.
O'BRIEN: Right, we're talking about the sort of economic collapse, so you're going down, right? And we're rebuilding, so I think people could argue that those have been jobs created as an economic collapse is trying to rebound.