The White House press secretary Jay Carney has expressed frustration with the press for taking comments out of context last week when President Obama said “the private sector is doing fine,” writes Politico.
Last week Barack Obama said answering a question on the Eurozone crisis: “The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine.”
“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 kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in,” the president said.
Obama continued: “And so, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be thinking about is, how do we help state and local governments and how do we help the construction industry.”
“Because the recipes that they’re promoting are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy, would result in further layoffs, would not provide relief in the housing market, and would result, I think most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs, not more,” the president said.
According to The Huff Post, Obama later clarified his remarks to reporters, saying that “the economy is not doing fine.”
However, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been quick to release a minute-long video with ominous music that asks, “Has there ever been a president so out of touch with the middle class?”
During the daily briefing at the White House Ben Feller of the Associated Press asked a question to Carney: “My quick question on the economy — when the President said on Friday that the private sector is doing fine, and then Governor Romney and other Republicans jumped on that, as you know, the basic complaint we heard from the White House was that the sentence was taken out of context.”
He asked: “And I’m wondering, since that’s the standard, then, can you assure us that the White House and the people who speak for President Obama will not take some unflattering sentence from Governor Romney and use it out of context?”
Carney replied: “That’s a rather remarkable question. I can simply refer you, again, to what you heard the President talk about as he stood here before you and the context of his rather full discussion of the state of the economy, and the simple fact that in a recovery that has seen 4.3 million jobs in the private sector created, it has also seen a situation where because of massive layoffs of teachers and firefighters and police officers — a reduction in the public sector.”
“And by “public sector,” we’re talking about state and local governments who have had to lay off teachers from classrooms, firefighters from the force and police officers from the force. That was the context in which he was speaking, which I think everyone in this room was aware of at the time,” he added.
“Certainly we believe that you all ought to do your jobs and report on context — of course. And we think that’s important generally. You’re asking me to speculate about what someone might say in the future in the context of it, and I simply can’t do that. But if you’re asking me if we’re for good reporting filled with context, the answer is yes,” Carney said.