POSTED: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 3:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 8, 2012 - 3:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The race for the White House was shaken up a bit Friday by six words spoken by President Obama: "The private sector is doing fine."
The President uttered the remark in a news conference he called on the economy, and was quickly pounced upon by Republicans.
"Are you kidding?" asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. "Did he see the job numbers that came out last week? The private sector is not doing fine."
The auto industry and U.S. manufacturing were strong in May, but construction jobs were way down. They're private sector.
The public sector was worse. Teachers, firefighters and police saw layoffs.
The president's point was to blame Congress for rejecting his bill to help states and cities hire.
"If Congress had passed it in full we'd be on track to have a million more Americans working this year," he said. "Keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months."
Mitt Romney was in Iowa when heard about his gift from the president.
"He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch?," Romney asked a cheering crowd. "These comments he's making suggest this is someone who doesn't understand what's happening in the country he's been elected to lead."
President Obama and the White House followed up that the economy is not doing fine, and that was the entire point of the press conference.
"The economy needs to be strengthened; that's why I had a press conference," President Obama pointed out.