President Obama’s “gaffe” about the private sector doing just fine has whipped Republicans up into a lather.
Last week while addressing the media in the White House briefing room, President Obama made a “gaffe,” saying that the “private sector in this country was doing fine.” Ever since, that “gaffe” has been the favorite punchline of every Republican talking head to appear on cable TV to deliver their official Roger Ailes approved talking points.
The media across the nation has jumped all over the “gaffe.” They’ve all piled on saying what a huge mistake Obama made in saying that “the private sector is doing fine.”
Even the Mittster himself–Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney–has gotten into the act. “I think he’s defining what it means to be out of touch with the American people,” Romney said.
The clear message that Republicans want people to take away from this is that “Barack Obama thinks that the economy is just fine.” Except that’s a lie. That’s completely the opposite of what Obama said.
And that’s why what Obama said wasn’t a “gaffe” at all. It’s only been twisted to sound like a gaffe by Republicans who are all giddy like little schoolgirls that the economy is bad in a presidential election year and they get to use it against a sitting president, and the media types are all too happy to help them do it if it stirs up the proper amount of controversy.
Here’s what Obama said:
Keep in mind that the private sector has been hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months. One of the biggest weaknesses has been state and local governments which have laid off 450,000 Americans; teachers, cops, firefighters. Congress should pass a bill putting them back to work right now, giving help to the states so that those layoffs are not occurring.
In response to a reporter’s question, he later reiterated:
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.
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 to the housing market, and would result, most economists estimate, in lower growth and fewer jobs.
Context is everything. The truth is that the statement “the private sector is doing fine” wasn’t a gaffe at all. It’s just being spun that way for political purposes by Republicans who are not so quietly cheering for the economy to remain not-so-good.
Please read the rest of this story here at the San Diego Free Press.