During a press conference on Friday morning President Obama shocked the nation when he told reporters the “private sector is doing fine” and attributed the nation’s high unemployment to a lack of state and local government jobs. Seriously?
Uh, the truth of the matter is that... as I’ve said we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, didn’t mince words when criticizing the president’s jarring comments.
Mitt Romney blasted President Obama for comments during a press conference Friday in which the president suggested the private sector was "doing fine."
"He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch?" Romney said at an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa. "I think he's defining what it means to be out of touch with the American people."
In the president's remarks Friday morning, Obama repeatedly said hiring at private industries was "fine" and occurring at "a solid pace," arguing instead for additional funds for state and local governments to hire teachers and emergency personnel. But Republicans quickly pounced on his remarks in light of May's disappointing job numbers, and Romney said the comments could have historic implications.
Incredibly, the Republican National Committee released an advertisement slamming the president just hours after the press conference.
This is a gift for Republicans. One would expect, say, Joe Biden to assert “the private sector is doing fine” when the real unemployment rate is nearly 15 percent and millions of Americans can’t find work -- not President Obama who is typically more careful and prepared when fielding questions from the media. Even so, while it’s difficult to gage how damaging his comments will actually be, given last week’s dismal jobs report, I suspect this impromptu statement will damage what little credibility The One's economic policies have left.
Update: President Obama "clarifies" his remarks.
Update II: Here's a few interesting statistics, courtesy of Ed Carson.
Private-sector jobs are still down by 4.6 million, or 4%, from January 2008, when overall employment peaked. Meanwhile government jobs are down just 407,000, or 1.8%. Federal employment actually is 225,000 jobs above its January 2008 level, an 11.4% increase. That’s right, up 11.4%.