In a humbling morning for our country today, President Obama spoke to the press about the dismal June unemployment numbers — we’re now at 9.2% unemployment, with a mere 18,000 jobs added last month — while Americans stood by to watch the bittersweet launch of the Atlantis, marking the last breaths of the space shuttle program. For those of you chose to watch livestream of astronauts soaring into space over the falling economy, a quick recap, after the jump:
After the usual references to the fact that a legacy problem cannot be fixed overnight, and statements that Americans have been let down by leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, Obama appealed for bipartisan support for bill and trade agreements pending in Congress. These are things we “can and should do right now” to tackle unemployment, according to the president — including finalizing a deal to raise the debt limit ceiling, and initiatives in patent approvals, infrastructure projects, and an extension of the payroll tax cut.
What do these numbers mean for Obama’s re-election chances? Presidential adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that Americans won’t be voting on unemployment in 2012, providing quick fodder for the GOP. And then today’s worse than expected unemployment report was issued. Meanwhile, the Times points out that no one since Franklin Roosevelt has been able to win re-election with unemployment at 7.2 percent. This should make 2012 interesting.