Obama just took a victory lap on the economy and mocked Republicans’ ‘doom and despair’ tour

President Barack Obama took time Friday to boast about the January jobs report, which showed the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest rate in eight years.

He also used the speech as a chance to mock Republican presidential candidates for criticizing the economy on the campaign trail.

“The United States of America has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” he said. “I know that’s still inconvenient for Republican stump speeches as their doom and despair tour plays out in New Hampshire.”

He began his news conference by mentioning that unemployment was below 5% nationally for the first time in eight years — and that the deficit and gas prices were down.

“We also have to do more to make sure the progress we make is broadly based,” Obama said. “Talking down the American economy does not bring that progress.”

When he was later asked about why many Americans remained anxious about the economy, he said the US should be proud of the progress under his administration.

“If we embraced Republican strategies, we would’ve done worse,” he said, pointing to European austerity measures.

“Because Europe did a lot of those things and they haven’t recovered yet,” he said. “This jobs report gives one more indication that the facts are on our side.”

He then added that the idea that “immigrants and poor people” were taking money out of people’s paychecks was “just not true,” a not-so-subtle shot at rhetoric emanating from the Republican presidential field.

“The facts don’t bear that out,” he said.

Friday’s jobs report showed that wage growth, too, was stronger than anticipated, in addition to the manufacturing sector adding its greatest number of jobs since August 2012. The labor-force participation rate rose slightly as well.

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