President Obama is perpetrating a scam on the American people by offering altered figures about the unemployment rate, Herman Cain said Thursday.

The former presidential candidate and pizza executive charged Obama with deception, saying the president had changed the underlying assumptions to devise a jobs number that was rosier than the truth.

“I can count. And I also know when they have manipulated the numbers to create whatever number they want,” Cain told activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Numerous Republicans, including Rep. Allen West (Fla.), have questioned the veracity of the unemployment rate after it dropped in January to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years.

The sign of progress was a major boon to Obama’s reelection prospects. Republicans have sought to downplay the gains by alleging the unemployment rate was doctored or that it doesn’t reflect underemployment and those who have stopped looking for work — even though the Labor Department calculates the rates the same way it does under any presidency.

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