Jobs Numbers Stink Less, White House Exhales

In politics, it's almost always helpful when expectations are lower than the belly of a snake.

Witness today's jobless numbers: the U.S. added 117,000 jobs last month, more than economists were expecting, and that pushed the unemployment rate down slightly to 9.1 percent of the labor force.

The White House spun the news positively, while trying to avoiding gloating. The Republicans said, essentially, that things still stink and it's Obama's fault.

"While the better than expected report is welcome news, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn," Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement. "Bipartisan action is needed to help the private sector and the economy grow – such as measures to extend both the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, as well as passing the pending free trade agreements with re-employment assistance for displaced workers, the patent reform bill, and a bipartisan infrastructure bill to help put Americans back to work."

Good luck getting all that through Congress, Austan. Here's his whole statement.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, "Rather than focusing like a laser on growing a strong and healthy American economy, President Obama is punishing job creators at every turn and devoting his attention to saving his own job."

Despite the good jobs number, recent reports have shown a drop in consumer spending, weak economic growth and a decline in manufacturing output.

Meanwhile, some on the left are arguing that the GOP is pursuing its austerity agenda to make it impossible for President Obama to do much about the jobs problem, thus increasing chances he will be defeated.