Sixty days to the election, President Barack Obama is charging onto the campaign trail pleading for patience from hard-pressed Americans toying with the notion of change, and portraying Republican rival Mitt Romney as unproven.
Obama and Romney were shadowing each other Friday in New Hampshire and Iowa, improbable battleground states in the too-close-to-call race. The campaigning was sure to be dominated by a new report from the Labor Department on the nation’s jobless.
Romney and the Republicans argue that three years of unemployment above 8 percent and minimal economic growth are valid reasons to fire Obama after one term. The incumbent contends that, having inherited one of the worst economic crises in history, he needs more time to turn the nation around.
“I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have,” Obama told Democrats at their convention Thursday night. “You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades.”
Obama’s concession that his work is incomplete runs smack into a harsh reality: No president since the Great Depression has been re-elected with such grim economic numbers.