Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is catching heat for portraying Friday's labor report showing 36,000 jobs were lost in February as "really good" news.
"Today is a big day in America. Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good," Reid said Friday on the Senate floor.
Republicans drew attention to the remark, which was captured in a YouTube clip, while bloggers railed against the Nevada Democrat.
Other officials appeared a bit more tactful in their interpretation of the February jobless numbers, which showed the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.7 percent despite prior suggestions that February's record snowfall might drive that number up.
President Obama called the report "better than expected," but he added that the number of unemployed is still "more than we should tolerate."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer noted that in February 2009, the country lost 700,000 jobs, and that the past month's report shows job losses are slowing.
"Nevertheless, millions of Americans remain out of work, and Congress will continue to focus on creating jobs," Hoyer said in his written statement.