Obama says it's clear U.S. economy "not doing fine"

WASHINGTON Sat Jun 9, 2012 1:06am EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, June 8, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, June 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama stressed on Friday the U.S. economy was "not doing fine," seeking to clarify his earlier comments about the health of the private sector that Republicans pounced on to try to paint him as out of touch.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said that while corporate profits were strong and companies had been adding jobs, small businesses were having a tough time getting financing and other pockets of the economy needed more attention.

Earlier in the day, Obama had told a news conference that the private sector was "doing fine," but that budget-pinched states needed help.

Republicans seized on Obama's comments on the state of the private sector, with House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner saying, "Mr. President, take it from me, the private sector is not doing well."

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is seeking to unseat Obama in the November 6 election, called his statement "an extraordinary miscalculation."

In his later comments, Obama repeated his view that state and local governments needed help to avoid teacher and police layoffs, and that Congress should help buoy struggling homeowners and construction workers who remain out of work several years after the financial crisis.

"It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine, that's the reason I had a press conference," the Democratic president said, seated next to Philippines President Benigno Aquino.

Asked about Romney's response to his earlier comments, Obama accused Republicans of lacking ideas about how to help the U.S. economy fully recover.

"What steps are they willing to take right now that are going to make an actual difference? So far, all we have heard are additional tax cuts for the folks who are doing well," he said.

ROMNEY SAYS OBAMA REMARK 'TO GO DOWN IN HISTORY'

In a campaign stop in Iowa, Romney, who has stressed his private-sector experience, said, "For the president of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history.

"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 added.

At a news conference, Boehner, the top congressional Republican, slammed the Obama healthcare law for making it harder for small businesses to hire. "Listen, the American people are still asking the question, ‘Where are the jobs?' Boehner said.

Other Republicans criticized Obama's argument that cuts to state and local government staff were dragging down growth.

Obama is "the one who saddled us with all these federal rules and regulations that don't allow governors to have the freedom to do what we really want," New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie told a Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago.

"And then he has the audacity to stand up this morning and say that it's the nation's governors and the nation's mayors who are driving our economy down by not hiring enough people for government work."

(Reporting By Laura MacInnis and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (29)
prothro wrote:
Yet he said it, and I’m sure he meant it.

Jun 08, 2012 12:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Patriot_70 wrote:
Tax them out of business O****a, who is trying his BEST to put 25,000 miners out of work in Ky and Wv, who said that the USA was in great shape and the recession was over, says now, (that he needs votes) that Bush’s mess was just bigger than he thought, and he needs another term to tax the wealthy and give the money to the middle class and make everyone happy again.

Mister President, if you would dig your hand out of our pockets… A couple of days ago I overheard a man talking about starting a new business, and I had to laugh.

First, he can’t. With federal requirements, state requirements, county requirements, city requirements, EPA requirements, Health Department requirements, regulations on top of regulations, and regulations on how to regulate yourself to deal with the regulations that are over the regulations, you do not stand a chance.

Also, even if you DO wade through the regulations, and the taxes and fees, and payroll stupidity, then you get to the new Health Care requirement which will keep MOST employers from expanding or even starting, then you have to deal with the massive unemployment insurance requirement which has grown obscenely after being hit with, not twelve, not twenty, not forty five, but ninety six months of unemployment that seems to be the goal of every lowdown scumbucket out there looking for a free ride.

THEN, if you pass all of that, you might open a business… but if you have a heart attack from the forms, you can rest easy knowing that your hairs will have to ransom the business from the IRS after you’re gone – with the presidents new “screw them we needs a death tax to get more money to send to the Gaza Strip to help the poor muhammadans that live there”.

His wife may be proud, but I refuse to even SAY HIS NAME IN PUBLIC!

Jun 08, 2012 12:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paulstewart wrote:
Calm down Mitt, this is not going down in history. For that matter, neither are you….. You are simply going down to defeat… If all you have is a “gotcha moment” from a misstatement by the President, then you have the problem sir….

Jun 08, 2012 12:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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