WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney listed indicators of economic misery Saturday night to suggest that a drop in unemployment hasn't reversed what ails the nation.
Romney rallied in battleground Florida the day after the government reported an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent in September, breaking a 43-month streak of joblessness of 8 percent or higher. The report also risked breaking Romney's momentum, gained in a strong debate performance days earlier.
Persistently high unemployment, long after the recession's official end, has been a leading threat to President Barack Obama's re-election. The improvement came as a marked relief to his campaign and a tricky development for his Republican rival.
Romney told an evening rally in Apopka that with poverty, the food stamp rolls and gas prices up, incomes down, college graduates struggling to find work and millions of people who've lost jobs no longer trying to get new ones, it's clear Obama doesn't know how to fix the economy. "I know how, and I will get the job done," he said.
Republican running mate Paul Ryan scheduled an evening fundraiser in Milwaukee, Wis., and neither party let up in their appeals for cash for the frantic final weeks ahead. Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden will debate Thursday in Danville, Ky.
Republicans and Romney himself have seemed invigorated by his spirited leadoff debate performance against a subdued Obama, which played out for a huge national TV audience, estimated at more than 67 million, just as voters at-large are tuning in to the campaign.
Defensive after the debate, Democrats contended Romney talked a good game but at the expense of the truth. A new TV ad by the Obama campaign, called "Dishonest," carries on the post-debate theme that Romney grossly misrepresented his own positions as well as Obama's on taxes. The Romney campaign was releasing a TV ad featuring a woman who says she voted for Obama in 2008 but is supporting the Republican today.
"Why Mitt Romney?" she asks. "Being a woman, you think about your children, and you think about their future. And what I want to think about is a future that has jobs. That our economy's growing again. That's important to women and it's important to me."