Aug 3, 2012 3:28 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is bracing for another potential dose of lackluster economic news while Republican challenger Mitt Romney readies to take advantage of any weakness in the monthly jobs report.
The new unemployment numbers, due Friday morning from the Labor Department, will paint a fresh picture of the U.S. economy three months before Election Day.
The closely watched report will also help set the tone for the next phase in the battle for the White House as the candidates race toward their party conventions and a fall campaign blitz.
The nationwide unemployment rate stands at 8.2 percent. That's down from a peak under Obama of 10.1 percent in 2009, but it's far too high for an economy trying to break out of the doldrums.