The Mitt Romney campaign on Thursday released a new ad exploiting six poorly chosen words by President Obama: “The private sector is doing fine.”
Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been hammering Obama for the assessment since he delivered it during a news conference last Friday, saying the president’s remarks prove he is out of touch with middle-class voters. Polls have consistently shown voters believe Obama understands middle-class concerns better than Romney; the “doing fine” comment has provided Romney with ammunition to fight that perception.
The new ad -- part of a $3.3 million, swing-state ad buy, the Romney campaign’s biggest of the general election -- begins with disheartening economic statistics and images of long unemployment lines. One piece of onscreen text says, “23.2 million Americans are in need of work.” Another reads, “40 straight months over 8 percent unemployment.”
Then comes video of Obama saying “the private sector is doing fine.” More text asks, “the private sector is doing fine?” before the Obama clip is replayed. Another round of text asks, “how can President Obama fix our economy if he doesn’t understand it’s broken?”
Obama has said he was contrasting progress in the private sector with bigger struggles in the public sector. The president noted in his press conference that 4.3 million jobs have been added to the private sector over 27 consecutive months of job growth.
After declaring that “the private sector is doing fine,” he added that “where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by 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.”
Hours after the press conference, Obama amended his statements, saying “it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”
Both Obama and Romney are scheduled to address the economy during campaign stops in Ohio Thursday. A Washington Post/ABC News poll published Wednesday showed voters lack confidence in both candidates’ economic plans.