Blame high gas prices, an anemic housing market, or the string of disasters in Japan for the sluggish economy - or just fault President Obama. According to White House hopeful and Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, the blame for Friday's disappointing economic reports lies squarely in the Oval Office.
"Today's unemployment report is another stark reminder of the failure of President Obama's economic policies," Bachmann said minutes after the Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June.
That's an increase over May's 9.1 percent unemployment rate. According to the report, the economy produced 18,000 net jobs in June. Employers added the fewest jobs in nine months.
Bachmann, who touts her experience in the House Financial Services Committee as the basis for her understanding of what ails the job market, says the president's "massive" stimulus package and government spending are to blame for the numbers.
"Clearly the president's policies have failed," Bachmann said on FOX & Friends Friday morning. "The unfortunate thing is, the president isn't learning from the failures that he's done for the last two and a half years."
By the former federal tax attorney's math, high unemployment numbers do not add up to more years in the White House for the president. "By the way, this week the president said he had another five and a half years to go on his term. I think the American people need to be consulted on that first. I don't think they see that," she said.
Though steep unemployment numbers have been difficult to overcome for presidents seeking a second term in past elections, Obama's senior political advisor David Plouffe said this week that voters don't pick candidates based on the politically tricky digits.
"The average American does not view the economy through the prism of GDP or unemployment rates, or even monthly jobs numbers," he said in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. "People won't vote based on the unemployment rate. They're going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?'"
"I think that's the height of political spin on the part of the president," Bachmann countered when asked about the comment Friday. "Clearly he's more interested in himself and his own reelection, and not enough about the true plight of the American people."
Bachmann's alternative for repairing the economy starts with a "no" vote on raising the debt ceiling - an option that many in her own party are willing to concede if it is mitigated by significant spending cuts. The Minnesota Republican says government revenues should be spent to pay off interest on the debt, a plan Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has called "not workable."
"Amidst this economic freefall, it should not be lost that the architect of the President's failed economic policies, Timothy Geithner, will head for the door after he attempts to cement the President's legacy of massive spending and debt by raising the debt limit another 2.4 trillion dollars. We can only hope that the President will be right behind him after the next election," Bachmann said. Despite rumors, Geithner has not personally indicated any specific plans to leave his post.