Romney ad hits Obama for 'private sector' comment

Associated Press
FILE - In this June 13, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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FILE - In this June 13, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — TITLE: "Doing Fine?"

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: Mitt Romney's campaign did not disclose where the ad is running.

KEY IMAGES: Workers standing in long lines, presumably seeking jobs, with a series of white-on-black statistics detailing the nation's economic woes: 23.2 million Americans in need of work, 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, middle-class families struggling and millions of homeowners owing more on their homes than the properties are worth. The words "The President's Response?" flash across the screen followed by a clip of President Barack Obama at a White House news conference on June 8. "The private sector is doing fine," he says.

The president's sound bite is repeated two more times before the ad concludes with text filling the screen that says: "How can President Obama fix our economy if he doesn't understand it's broken?"

ANALYSIS: The ad seeks to amplify an Obama gaffe and keep the embarrassing moment alive for the public. Republicans hope the president's stumble will prove to be a campaign game-changer.

But the ad, similar to an attack ad Obama used against GOP rival John McCain in the 2008 race, does not tell the full story of what Obama was trying to say.

Obama quickly backpedaled after the comment and tried to make clear that he was comparing the private sector to public-sector employment, which has seen bigger job losses of late. In public comments later that day, Obama said it is "absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine." While there had been some "good momentum" in the private sector, he said, public sector growth lagged behind, making it imperative that Congress act on his proposals to hire more teachers, police and firefighters.

Obama's assertion that the private sector is brighter than the public sector is on the mark.

Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, private companies have added 3.1 million jobs. Largely because of budget cuts at the state and local level, governments have slashed 601,000 jobs in the same period. According to the government, corporate profits have risen 58 percent since mid-2009.

Obama's "private sector is doing fine" comment was reminiscent of Republican McCain's assertion in the 2008 presidential race that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong," even as the economy was melting down.

Back then, Democratic presidential nominee Obama pounced on McCain's comments and produced an ad much like this one to hammer home his point.

The economy is the prime issue for voters and a weak spot for Obama as he seeks re-election. May employment numbers showed that the private sector created a disappointing 69,000 jobs and that the jobless rate bumped up to 8.2 percent.

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