After a fury of backlash, President Barack Obama sought to clarify comments he had made just hours ago at a press conference, saying that he realised “the economy is not doing fine.””It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That’s why I had a press conference,” Obama told reporters at the White House, according to NBC.
The steps back come after Republicans seized on Obama’s earlier comments. The key line: “The private sector is doing fine.” Obama followed that up by calling for more public sector job growth, which went along with the provisions of a jobs bill he proposed in September.
“The private sector has been doing a good job at creating jobs,” Obama said. “State and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction.”
But Republicans took the comment and launched a full-fledged assault.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney took the opportunity to charge Obama with being “out of touch” at a campaign speech in Iowa.
“It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again,” Romney said.
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded with incredulity at a press conference.
“My question to him would be, ‘Are you kidding? Did he see the jobs numbers that came out last week?'”
Obama had the same message this afternoon. Just a different choice of words. He also took a shot at Congressional Republicans and his opponent.
“What I’m interested in hearing from Congress and Mr. Romney is what steps are they willing to take right now that are going to make an actual difference,” Obama said. “And so far, all we’ve heard are additional tax cuts to the folks who are doing fine, as opposed to taking steps that would actually help deal with the weaknesses in the economy and promote the kind of economic growth that we would all like to see.”
Here’s the chart that gives some credence to the point Obama was trying to make. Overall, public sector employment has grown under Obama. Meanwhile, the public sector has shrunk by more than 630,000 jobs. The dismal jobs report last week was due in part to a loss of 13,000 public-sector jobs. The private sector gained 82,000 new jobs.
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