LOS ANGELES -- Campaigns for Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama sought to keep the spotlight focused Monday on ill-advised statements both men made last week, as both campaigns released web videos and dispatched top surrogates to argue the other side grossly misunderstands the state of the nation’s economy.
Romney’s campaign continued to hammer Obama for saying the private sector was “doing fine,” a statement the president sought to correct within hours of uttering it on Friday.
A minute-long web video includes clips of newscasters reporting the dismal May jobs report - which showed unemployment had increased and the economy added a meager number of jobs last month - and is followed by the president saying, “The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.”
“Has There Ever Been a President So Out Of Touch With the Middle Class?” the video concludes.
Obama’s campaign, meanwhile, tried to shift attention to a controversial statement Romney made Friday that didn’t receive as much attention as Obama’s gaffe: that the nation does not need more teachers, police officers or firefighters.
Obama “says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people,” Romney said while campaigning in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday.
The Obama campaign put out its own video that said that Romney enacted similar cuts while governor of Massachusetts, resulting in crowded classrooms and less safe streets. They also dispatched top campaign officials to press the argument on television.
“Mitt Romney’s solution of how to strengthen the economy: fire more people. He believes that if we fire more teachers, more firefighters, more policemen, we’re actually going to grow this economy,” deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said on CNN Monday morning. “ . none of this should be a surprise. He did this in Massachusetts. He did fire policemen, teachers, and firefighters. And what happened? Massachusetts plummeted to 47th out of 50 in job creation.”
A Romney adviser sought to clarify the presumptive GOP nominee’s comments, saying he wants state and local government to be able to hire as many teachers, firefighters and police officers as they need, and said they have been laid off in large numbers because Obama has failed to fix the economy.
“Clearly every state and every locality decides on how many police, how many teachers and how many firemen are best for their community. And the reason they can’t maintain that number if they are not is because the economy, the overall economy, the money - the businesses are not there. People are falling, people are unemployed,” Bay Buchanan said on CNN Monday morning. “That is raising the cost of local and state government. And so they’re not able to do all that they want. The key to that turning around is a strong economy.”
FILE - In this May 29, 2012 file photo, epublican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Las Vegas. President Barack Obama's campaign was opening a new critique of Mitt Romney's record on Wednesday, focusing attention on the Republican nominee's economic agenda while he served as governor of Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)×