June 1, 2012 at 2:06 PM ET
President Obama's failed policies—not the European debt crisis—are to blame for the struggling U.S. economy, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney told CNBC.
Speaking hours after the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent and the economy created just 69,000 jobs in May, Romney said the president has run out of excuses for the weak performance.
"This is very bad news for the American people, and the president is always quick to find someone to blame," Romney said in a live interview on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report" show. "First it was George Bush, then Congress, ATM machines, then it was Europe. The truth is it's the job of the president to get people back to work."
Stocks sold off violently after the jobs report and have been on a downward trajectory in part because of investor fears that sovereign debt defaults in Greece could spread through the euro zone and infect the global economy.
While acknowledging that the European situation is difficult, he said the problem has been exacerbated because Obama has not been focused on growing the U.S. economy.
"The developments around the world always influence our jobs. But we should be well into a very robust recovery by now," Romney said. "If the president's policies had worked, if he'd been able to get America back on track, we'd be looking at what happened in Europe as a problem but not devastating. These numbers are devastating."
If elected, Romney said he would focus on creating more jobs in the energy field by broadening the nation's exploration efforts. He also said he'd scrap the Affordable Care Act — often called "Obamacare" — which he said has created an air of uncertainty that also has stymied job growth.
He also rejected the notion that the Federal Reserve ought to consider another round of quantitative easing, a bond-buying program the central bank conducted over the past three years to lower interest rates and boost risk assets.
"The Fed stimulative effects have really run their course. QE2 was not able to yield the economic benefits which they hoped it would be able to yield," Romney said. "I don't think we're looking for more QE3 if you will. I don't think that will have any more impact than QE2 did."
The Obama administration called on Congress to do more to help the economy create jobs, with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis saying May's rise in the unemployment rate was unacceptable.
"Congress has to take some action because while we see the unemployment rate where it is, it's not acceptable," Solis told CNBC earlier Friday.
At a subsequent speech in Golden Valley, Minn., Obama acknowledged the jobs weakness, saying "We're still not creating them as fast as we want."
But also said his administration's efforts indeed have been hampered by events around the world and an uncooperative Congress.
"I sent Congress a bill last September full of the kind of bipartisan ideas that would have put our fellow Americans back to work and help reinforce our economy against some of these outside shots," he said. "Congress has passed a few parts of the jobs bill...but Congress has not acted on enough of the other ideas in that bill that would help make a difference and help create jobs right now, and there's no excuse for it."
Reuters contributed to this report.