June 8th, 2012
03:37 PM ET
10 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. Brett

    I suspect if whether congress got a raise and health insurance or any benefit was in the hands of the people and not in the hands of the congress they would act differently. it amazes me that they can vote themselves raises or any other benefit without any one able to stop them. they seem to forget that they work for all the people of this country, but i guess not matter all the screaming we do they don't listen.

    June 8, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. John

    What's funny is the estimated Government employee work force is only about 5-6% of the overall workforce....So this guy thinks the remaining 94% of the work force is doing fine and the 5-6% are not....Talk about an out of touch embarrasement

    June 8, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. FedUp

    Really? Anyone outside the beltway has been saying that since Obama said the recession was over during the summer of 2009. Wow! I still don't think Obama gets it, but Clinton has started to lead him down the right path. Possibly.

    June 8, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. sure thats what they say

    And in other depressing economic news the dow and nasdaq close up this week... best gains of the year. I am sure that Mitt will come out of hiding and poke his little head out and say it is terrible news. It is really all he knows how to do, while in the same breath commenting on how Obama is out of touch. lol

    June 8, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. PorknBeans

    I read the comments from the committed libs at CNN and I am astonished at their naiveté. This is the worst President this country has ever seen. Bar-none, this man is a $16t train wreck. Once he leaves, obamacare will be completely annulled, businesses will hire again, housing will go back up, the stock market will rise, and Democrats will quietly smolder in dark rooms for years. It is obvious. This country is in the tank simply and directly because of obama’s failed leadership. Please be honest…any new president will be better than this fraud.

    June 8, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. RudyG

    Obama's "slip of the tongue" tells us how he thinks!. The hell with private enterprise. How dare they practice capitalism! To depend on the government for all jobs is great – just ask the Cubans. No wonder Castro's daughter wants him re-elected – they are two of a kind!!

    June 8, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. FatLady

    I gathered from what the President said this morning that I am not part of the private sector. I am self employed, sole proprietor, limited credit, mounting bills, clients clutching tightly to their own money. I am not doing just fine. I am a forced entrepreneur who started a service business because I could not find a job. I am not doing just fine.

    I think that the President and the rest of the politicians dont know I exist. Oh wait. The IRS knows.

    June 8, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    So, in answer to this, the GOP picks a man who loves to fire people, thinks corporations are peopleoutsourced jobs overseas, roped off a public elevator in the state capital for his personal use, has Cayman Island accounts, brags about the elevator in his garage, and has plans to expand his latest real estate purchase by a factor of 4. Oh, come on, everyone has one of those elevators: if you don't you're just a lazy, resentful parasite filled with envy...

    June 8, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. scoto

    Below is a quote from Charles Ferguson (Predator Nation) which sums up perfectly why we are in the mess we are in.
    Americans need to stop falling for this dumb "left/right" game every 4 years and realize that our problems are caused by corporate ownership of our political system. Period

    " It was the Clinton administration that dismantled the regulatory controls that protected the average citizen from avaricious financiers. It was the Bush team that destroyed the federal revenue base with its grotesquely skewed tax cuts for the rich. And it is the Obama White House that has allowed financial criminals to continue to operate unchecked, even after supposed “reforms” installed after the collapse of 2008."

    June 8, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. wcc

    HE did not create a single bloody job! WE are not stupid! And CNN can't clean this one up!

    June 8, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Investment Advisor

    @ Grover Norquist.... Get real with your analysis! You are referencing a tiny speck of the private sector....so small that to give it a % would be irrelevant. The over all PS is just hanging on! The mom and pop operations have a huge hurdle to clear. Its stupid to refernce only the very few elite bankers and say they represent the private sector.....get a clue!

    June 8, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. T. Wright Barnes

    This is a defining moment of truth and revelation for Barack Obama. He thinks all is well with the private sector, but the public sector, that is GOVERNMENT needs help! The government that has bankrupted itself and yet continues to spend, the government that gropes us when we want to get on a plane, the government that day by day controls more and more aspects of our daily lives, needs help?

    If there was any doubt in my mind that President Obama must be denied a second term, it's gone now.

    June 8, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. KPATL

    "The private sector's doing fine," Obama said. "Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government,"

    Are you kidding me? He didn't just say that! Really? I am starting to look upon Jimmy Carter with fondness.

    June 8, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Lost Vote

    Question: How many of your friends or family members lost their jobs and voted for Obama? I did and I wont be voting for him again! He spent his first year working on healthcare – so out of touch. The Badger state got it right and this election won't even be close in November. Both sides are a corrupt mess!!!! Oh Ya, I haven't heard "Yes We Can" lately.

    June 8, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Bill

    What a buffoon

    June 8, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Steve

    First Clinton now Obama. Can any liberal just say what they mean for once? The stutterer can't get it right either uh uh uh

    June 8, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. DTB

    I love watching all the republicans scramble like chickens with their heads cut off over this.

    Especially when today they released that stocks are at their highest point so far this year. Yup, that private sector sure is hurtin' eh boys?

    June 8, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Leo F Cuomo

    On CNN today at 2PM a Wall Street writer was interviewed. He said tObama was wrong about the private economy . Then praised Cantor for his take on the economy. The host of the show never followed up asking about Obama's assertion that Congress is blocking the Job Act that he proposed. It was like watching Fox news. The Wall street guy was reading talking points from the Republicans and his paper. I expect more from CNN.

    June 8, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Bill

    Is Obama straight or is he a pansy. Looks kinda like a pansy to me.....

    June 8, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Delusional Democrats Whining Crying Blaming, My Dream Has Come True

    cali girl - California Gary, I like your posts too. And hi to Sniffit and Woman in California and Dominican Mama.
    Ahhhh how nice.... we have a nice little self adoration libtard support group sprouting in our midst! Maybe you can all get a group discount on therapy sessions in November when Obama gets tossed to the curb? BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    June 8, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. OGR99

    Hilary Rosen, "I didn't mean to insult Stay-At-Home Moms".

    Bill Clinton, "I'm very sorry for my remarks about tax cuts".

    Mr. Obama, " The private sector isn't doing just fine".

    Talk about flip flops....

    June 8, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. KPATL

    Obama is not detached, he is living in a self created delusional utopia where the laws of supply side economic don't exist. There is no way this guy should have been elected.

    June 8, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Talon MacDonald PhD.

    If one pays attention to the last few months news, one can clearly see that Obama is now realizing he has been "jumping the shark", and is just now realizing he will have to fight tooth and nail for re-election. His actions over the past few years have further and further alienated the average citizen, most of what is left is more left in principle toward being liberal and Democrat, rather than actuarial Obama supporters. Most, because there are still a few brainwashed types that want to cry out "take off your shirt", like overzealous rock star or strip show fans..

    June 8, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Norm

    Nice to see some honesty in a political candidate for a change.
    There's no rule that a president has to serve two terms.
    In fact...I'd rather see a new law passed that a president cannot serve more than one consecutive term.
    Bush for two terms was a disaster and a half.

    June 8, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    ... Look at JP Morgan Chase as a prime example. They made a HUGE $200 billion crew up and they still gave Jaime Dimon a $24 million salary. Explain that one to me.
    Jamie Dimon is worth every penny of his salary. The trading loss was $3-4 billion. They will still be profitable for the quarter. In the big picture, Jamie Dimon is one of the best financial executives on Wall Street. That doesn't mean that everything in the company he runs will be perfect, just better than if he was not there.

    June 8, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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