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. Glenn

    Wow!!!! His own campaign called him the etch-a-sketch candidate. He is the guy who said he likes to fire people. He even called corporations people. I still looking for those normal looking trees. You take something out of context and call the President out of touch. Give me a break.

    June 8, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. HarshestReality

    "the dow and nasdaq close up this week..." Because the market closes up you assume that all is right with the economy? Talk about being out of touch.

    June 8, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. davecu

    The Ship of Fools now has a complete crew.

    Yeah, Barry has been talking. Talking crap and doing what?

    We need an experienced leader not a campaigner!

    June 8, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Mikey

    @Scott – "Reagan got rising unemployment starting at 8%, peaking at 10+%, ending at 5%. Obama got unemployment at 7.6% and it's now at about 14% counting the disenfranchised."
    Please get your facts straight. Reagan: Inherited Jan 1981 = 7.5%; Peak Nov 1982 = 10.8%; After 39 months Apr 1984 = 7.7% (0.2% higher than he inherited). Obama: Inherited Jan 2009 = 7.8%; Peak Oct 2009 = 10.0%; After 39 months Apr 2012 = 8.1% (0.3% higher than he inherited)... and President Obama inherited a much worse economy with far greater problems and a much less cooperative Congress. And please don't try to compare the figures including discouraged workers (U6 unemployment) for Obama to the traditional (U3) unemployment for Reagan. Not "apples to apples" as you say.

    June 8, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Obama and Clinton, it would be wise for Democrats to watch them play hardball with these Republicans, that's exactly what's happening. Stay tuned, there is more to come.

    June 8, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. BBear1

    No question Mr. Obama made a "gaffe". So the Presidential Nominee Gaffee Tally now stands at:

    Obama 1
    Romeny 837

    June 8, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. bigoton

    To cheryl jeffries,
    If you think Romney knows anything about governing. Well your ya'll just showed that your just another southern idiot who's probably a republican living in one of the poorest states in the union, sucking the blood out of the country. I live in Mass and the people of this state hate him. Try a 20% approval rating! Imagine that one a grand scale. Repubs cut education, shockingly why most of the south is close to last in the country in most math and science scores. Why do you and many others constantly vote against your own principles? This Republican party is dumbing down the country and people are just letting it happen. If you think they will do anything to make your life better you are beyond wrong

    June 8, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Mike500

    I agree with Obama. He has spent a lot of time talking about it. Not doing anything mind you, just talking.

    June 8, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Susan in Arkansas

    After reading these comments, I think that the collective IQ of the "righties" is a negative number. They take one month, yes just one month, where the number of new jobs didn't grow according to estimates (only 96,000!) and the unemployment rate jumped one-tenth of a percentage point, and everything is gloom and doom and the President is a disaster and "out-of-touch." For crying out loud, folks, get a grip. We've been taking so many steps forward since Mr. Obama was elected, a slight step back, DURING A ONE MONTH PERIOD, and the "righties" are screaming that he should pack his bags and leave. Anyone with any intelligence knows that it takes time to recover from a recession...ahem, the one that the previous Republican administration got us into in the first place. Let's see what happens in the coming months. I bet we continue to see job growth and the unemployment rate figures improve. Just look what the stock market did this week! If the "righties" logic prevails, they must congratulate the President for a job well done!

    June 8, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. JoeFL

    Save a Billionaire.
    Vote Republican.

    June 8, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Law


    Remember Obama had a veto proof Congress for most of his first two years and still couldn't get anything done, except for the 2000 page debacle. It wasn't the GOP's fault then.

    June 8, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    I don't know about other companies, but where I work they are hiring left and right.
    I guess this company IS doing fine.
    At least the grip of bain and the flip flopper didn't get to it and our jobs were not sent to China and/or India.

    June 8, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. shut_up

    flip floping flop eared goofus. its doing fine, not doing fine... leave me alone i am campaigning in hollywood

    June 8, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Abaz

    @sure: Yet, Obama, in a desperate attempt to cover his rediculous statements on the private sector, back peddles on his initial assesment to concede he was wrong about the private sector and that the economy is still in trouble. You are cutting off your nose to spite your face with your comment.

    June 8, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Mikey

    @John – Try 15%, not 5% – 6%... but for a Conservative, that's pretty good. only off by a factor of 2.5 – 3.

    June 8, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    The private section is doing fine. The ultrarich can make more money by sending it to Wall street than opening a factory.

    June 8, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Marcus

    It's just me or are all the right wingers trying to make this 'cherrypicked-and-out-of-its-context' phrase by Mr. POTUS the Democrat 'answer' to 'The fundamentals of our economy are strong' or whatever MCCain said back in 2008 and those 'out-of-context' (according to them) words by Mitt about what should be done with Detroit back then?
    Facts: McCain was expressing his opinion about the status of the economy. Mitt Romney explained with a lot of words what he meant with his words and the POTUS was making a comparison.
    But, as always, Mitt-supporters won't gonna let facts stand in their way.

    June 8, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. tumbleweed

    @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

    Well said. Unfortunately, the ugly truth about my Country is that its still very racists. now it has come a long long way, but it was too easy for corrupt politicians to use the(southern strategy) to dupe people. This was crystal clear to me when I first became interested in presidential politics. I was in college when Reagan was running against Mondale. I was at a frat party and a student said he was voting for Reagan, "because he was for the white man" meaning Mondale was not. I thought the president should be for all the citizens, not just one segment. That showed me that Reagan was able to get average white people to think that if your policies involved helping the poor, minorities etc. you were hurting the hard working white people. It's the old 12 cookies thing. While holding 10 of the 12 cookies, the Republican says..hey look, those, ...fill in the blank, minorities, gov workers, teachers, elderly, poor, middle class are taking your 2 cookies. What are you going to do about that. Instead of saying, well I do have 10 of the 12 cookies...maybe I can give back a cookie or 2 (taxes for the rich) to help everyone out(socialism/ communisim) and make our country truly stronger in the long run. People with more money in their pockets(poor and middle class) will buy more stuff, which will help business.

    June 8, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. tonyl

    This "do nothing congress" is corrupt, bought and paid by special interests and rich greedy among us. GOP leaders are only interested in political gains at the expense and misery of the American people. Their main goal from day one was to fail this nation and fail Obama. It is on record statements made by the GOP congressional leaders that they will work to fail this president at any cost. Americans have not elected these free loaders to sit on their rear ends and cheer the failing of our economy. The same people will act and pass the jobs bill after election regardless of whoever is in the white house. Electing Romney will be a third term for Bush/Cheney all over again.

    June 8, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Marcus

    Law – 'veto-proof'?, and what good it was (supposing that it was true) if it wasn't a FILIBUSTER-PROOF one?

    June 8, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Brandy

    Yes he said that but he also said the economy is not doing fine. There is a jobs bill sitting in Congress for over a year. It has the funding already, so why is Boehner, Cantor, McConnell sitting and doing nothing. The President needs to issue an executive order

    June 8, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Ray

    Here is a guy that love to firer people, He think corporation are people and don't worry about the poor and he going to knockdown a million dollar home to build a 10 million dollar home and add a elevator for his cars. Wow . Who out of touch?

    June 8, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Patricia Murray-Zarzour

    This president needs to be fired...he is way over his head...smooth talker with no expertise...and how did he get elected???

    June 8, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. charlie avila

    Obama came to the white house with lies and more lies. He's a liar, and only blame on congress republicans. To me, his administration agenda is to destroy americans and the united states economically and militarily. He is a left wing politician, and the worst thing voters did last 2008, was to put him in the white house. If he is re-elected, he will have four more years to finish turning the nation into a poor third world country. So, voters, open your eyes and vote republican next presidentials elections 2012!.....

    June 8, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Pedro

    He's absolutely right. The private sector is doing fine. Cuts in government spending have lead to government layoffs, which are offsetting the gains in the private sector.

    June 8, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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