June 8th, 2012
03:37 PM ET
2 years ago

'The economy is not doing fine,' Obama clarifies

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama, walking back his assertion at a press conference the "private sector's doing fine," acknowledged Friday that "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine."

The struggling economy, he clarified, is "why I had the press conference."

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"That's why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this part month, this past year talking about how we can make this economy stronger," Obama said in the Oval Office. "The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak, there are too many homes underwater."

In the press conference Friday morning, Obama touted job growth in the private sector of the economy, describing the public sector - state and local governments - as the weight dragging the economy.

"The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last two, 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector's doing fine," Obama said. "Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in."

CNNMoney: Obama to Congress: Do something

Republicans wasted little time on Friday hammering Obama for his remark. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney asked at a campaign event in Utah if the president was "really that out of touch."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (353 Responses)
  1. tumbleweed

    Private sector ccompanies have made more profit than ever before. Look at the stock market's record levels.
    They are sitting on billions in profit and not hiring.. the Right wants to give them more tax cuts?? Please tell me joe six pack, Reagan Democrat, white male making 45,000 a year...why are you voting for these people? They do not care about you....

    June 8, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. John

    Like the Republican are trying to help him to get anything done. All the Republican want Is there way or the Highway. And that nothing but helping the Rich get Richer. The President got my vote.

    June 8, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Josh

    V......you're an idiot. Even if you were right and he is truthful, which I seriously doubt, he is still doing a horrible job. I'd take bush back over this moron.

    June 8, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Mikey

    @Valentina – Corporate profits are off the charts. The stock market has almost doubled in 3 years. Corporations are sitting on massive piles of cash. While uncertainty regarding economic conditions are negatively affecting hiring, you certainly can't say corporations are hurting. As far as his reelection, I wouldn't start counting my chickens if you really want Mr. Flip Flop in the Oval Office.

    June 8, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. cathstar

    We certainly don't need Romney, who is worth a couple of hundred million dollars, telling us that President Obama is "out of touch." Does Romney believe that he is "in touch" with the middle class and lower middle class? Remember how upset Romney and his wife got when it was stated that she never worked a day in her life? She immediately claimed thar raising five children was a very difficult job. Really? I want to know how many staffers she had to help raise her children and how much time she actually spent with them. These people are totally clueles as to how the average American lives.

    June 8, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. California Gary

    I think you are counting out the prez too soon there valentina. Can Republicans really support a rich, moderate from the Northeast who is pretending to be a common man of the far right? Some might be able to hold their nose and vote for that phoney, but I suspect not enough will to unseat a sitting president.

    June 8, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    V in Chicago.....We need no more of Chicago style politics....labor controled, anti 2nd amendment control freaks.....no thanks.....Like Obama, keep your head in the sand if you like thinks are much better.....

    June 8, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Eric

    Valentina,
    Let us be real. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand his comment. As a matter of fact, a child could interpret that he was comparing the private sector to the public. The millions of public sectors job lost has had a drag on this economy and Congress could easily do something to remedy the problem if they were not so hell bent on bringing down this president along with the middle class and the country. Once american get a chance to see Romney, Obama will easily win. Romney is an empty suit with a void economic policy based on the premises of debt increases via irrelevant tax cuts.

    June 8, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. wizkid

    I'm a non-American who happened to watch this press conference. In context his remarks made perfect sense. He used facts to substantiate his assertion that private sector job growth has been substantial and remarked that weaknesses in the American job market stem from public sector job losses.

    Anyone with intelligence would have noted that. If the American right manages to turn this into a successful talking point, I'm afraid it will be indicative of a lack of intelligence in the electorate.

    But that's the beauty of democracy – people get the government they deserve.

    June 8, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. dd

    At this point stimuli doesn't impress people. The youth – college graduates are disillusioned about the American dream of profession home and family; the over 30 crowd is unemployed with benefits that have run out and now the under 30 are taking their jobs; the 40 – 60 year olds have lost their homes autos, jobs, and businesses an forced to take on early retirement with an overload of debt and living on reduced pensions that state and cities have reduced and taken away colas. How do you recover? You don't. The banks recover, BIG BUSINESS recovers, the government and the wealthy recover. It's the middle class that abided by what America asked them to do to be good citizens to have a good life and have the American dream. The youth have seen their parents' lives destroyed with this economy. Bernanke nor Obama can do anything to right this. It's been too little too late...and yes, multi generational groups are bitter. We have all suffered within..... the middle class most of all....
    someone posted this earlier.....and wow it is sooooooo true....sadly.

    June 8, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. bobden

    So the repub solution is, as idiot Ryan said, "there will be no more legislation this year".
    Does that mean that they will refuse to do their job for the remainder of the year?

    To me, that means that the repub legislators should get no more paychecks this year.

    June 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    We know, but it takes time to fix it from WARS and Trickle down nonsense. Mittens does not understand nor have magic wand to fix, except shipping jobs to china, India.

    June 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    “It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine." He meant Middle class economy

    June 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Delusional Democrats Whining Crying Blaming, My Dream Has Come True

    Obama's big problem is that he just doesn't know when to shut up. He thinks he's the smartest guy on the planet and that everybody is sitting and waiting on his every word. At this point, he might remember that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

    June 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Anthony Quatroni

    I don't believe this guy. He doesn't even know what's going on in the country he presides over! Yet another comment made without really thinking. And as for "V", I don't know HOW you can possible side with this man after all the promises he made and didn't keep, the country is in the worst state it's EVE been in, and he doesn't even know what's going on here. You and all the other blind people can vote for him in November, but you have to be out of your mind.

    June 8, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Axemaster

    News to President Obama – I am in the Private Sector, and I can state absolutely, that the Private Sector is NOT doing well and has been hammered by our governments policies and our President.

    Out of Touch is an understatement when it comes to our President. He is in love with the policies that destroyed the Eastern Bloc and Socialist Europe. We have been done this road before many times throughout history, the Private Sector eventually is incapable of supporting the welfare state.

    Dear Mr President, the Economy is Horrible!!!!

    June 8, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    Leave it up to the GOP fascists to jump on a comment taken out of context and then try and spin it. smh. Enough of the politics and govern CONGRESS!!!

    June 8, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. zeke2112

    This will be his "mission accomplished."

    June 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Ian

    Compared to most places in the world, the kind of performance Obama outlines in his comments shows the private sector in the US is doing remarkably well. I know many countries would give a lot to have the kind of job growth the US has seen.
    This debate just shows how desperate people (like the GOP) will stoop to picking a sentence or phrase out of a longer comment to make mischief.

    June 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. CaliforniaBC

    No need to backtrack Mr. President. 27 months of private sector growth. Increases in GDP from 0.4% to 3.0% in 2011 (historical average for healthy economy 3.8%). 200,000+ jobs per month from September 2011 to Feb 2012.

    No need to backtrack AT ALL!! What it IS time for is SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT!!

    June 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Cheryl Jefferies

    Ya'll just keep on talking. Mitt is our only chance to save ourselves and America. Guess ya'll would be one of the ones helping Obama leak classified secrets to the press, too.

    June 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Delusional Democrats Whining Crying Blaming, My Dream Has Come True

    California Gary - but I suspect not enough will to unseat a sitting president
    ===========================================================
    But they WILL unseat a clueless, lying, incompetent, failing president. Just watch in November.

    June 8, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Mikey

    @Four and The Door – "Does he also know ..... American companies are taxed at the highest rates of those in any developed country?
    ******************************************************
    No, he doesn't, because it's simply not true. Depending on how you look at it we are somewhere between 20th and 30th in effective corporate tax rates (what corporations actually pay). You might want to fact check a little.

    June 8, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. Anthony Quatroni

    I don't believe this guy. He doesn't even know what's going on in the country he presides over! Yet another comment made without really thinking. How can anyone possibly side with this man after all the promises he made and didn't keep, the country is in the worst state it's EVER been in, and he doesn't even know what's going on here. Incredible!

    June 8, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. High Way

    What has this world come to? Its Republicans that put the USA in dire straights. The Democrats had tried to fix the problems but the Republican and Tea party have put mountains of road blocks saying my way or no way and when it was their way they would still say no anyway. No win situation for Obama and Democrats. Its all has to do with taking power of the White House. Obama has been honest about facts but could we say the same about Romney? In the Republican camp its the anything goes as far as its said with no facts to back them up. GOD help us if the American people elect those that could lie straight to their faces.

    June 8, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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