Why Today Was a Good Day for Barack Obama

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Nov. 2 2012 3:00 PM

A Ray of Hope

Why today was a good day for Barack Obama.

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Every day until the election, Slate will offer up one reason to be optimistic for your candidate.

Four days to go:

Today’s Good News for Obama: On Friday the Labor Department released the last round of jobs numbers before the election, and on the whole they provided yet more grist for Obama’s defense of his economic policies. Although unemployment crawled slightly upward to 7.9 percent, 171,000 Americans found jobs during the month of October, and the August and September estimates were revised upward by 84,000 jobs total. The small rise in unemployment is, in fact, a promising sign, as it indicates that more people are looking for work and are presumably more optimistic about their prospects of finding it. Most of the new jobs gained, moreover, are in the private sector, undercutting Mitt Romney’s criticisms of Obama’s business policies. With only four days to go, a terrible jobs report could have drained Obama of his increasing momentum. Today’s solidly good news, however, may allow the president to hold on to his narrow lead in the closing days of the campaign.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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