The Labor Department announced on Thursday that new jobless claims had reached their highest point since the Gulf Coast hurricanes in September 2005. For the week ending on March 29, jobless claims jumped by 38,000 to 407,000. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each released statements about the new numbers.

Clinton’s statement attacked John McCain for a not having a plan to deal with the poor economy. “Today’s dismal jobless claims report is a reminder that we are in the midst of a growing economic crisis and Senator McCain has yet to answer the call of economic leadership. Americans need a president who understands the complex challenges our economy faces – from lagging employment to record gas prices to a housing and credit crisis which threaten to drive us into a painful and deep recession. Senator McCain has already admitted that he doesn’t know much about economics, and he is proving that point on the campaign trail. His plan for the housing crisis is simply not to have one,” Clinton said.

Obama’s statement also mentioned Bush and McCain, but also used the poor economy to renew their call for change. “Today’s job news is the latest indicator of how badly America needs fundamental change from Bush-McCain policies that have been devastating for working families and catastrophic for our economy. While George Bush and John McCain’s answer to this recession has been to watch it happen while pushing for more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, more families are facing foreclosure, rising costs, and disappearing jobs. It’s time for a new direction, with immediate relief for homeowners, a second stimulus package that expands unemployment insurance and helps state and local governments, and investments in millions of new jobs to strengthen our economy. Our economy is struggling because the American people are struggling, and simply bailing out investment banks on Wall Street will not help Main Street.”

It is fascinating to contrast the two candidates’ styles in these statements. Obama tends to mix the old politics with a forward looking message, but Clinton tends to stick to old school partisan attacks. I understand that Clinton is trying to position herself as Democrat who can best deal with both the economy and the Republicans, but the contrast between two candidates is clear. Obama is out to reassure and inspire, while Clinton is focused on the policy end of the crisis.

Clinton statement:

Obama statement:

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