Video: Axelrod dodges CNN question on “private sector doing fine” … three times; Update: “Fine?”

posted at 10:16 am on June 10, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

It’s going to be a long day for Team Obama. David Axelrod appeared on CNN’s State of the Union a few minutes ago to attempt to spin the disastrous press conference on Friday, and Candy Crowley asked him directly no less than three times if he agreed with President Obama that “the private sector is doing fine.” Axelrod refuses to give a direct answer on all three occasions, the first two of which are captured in this clip from the GOP:

Axelrod tried to turn the question around to the same point Obama wanted to make, which was that the big problem in the economy is in the public sector, where 500,000 jobs have been lost.  The Wall Street Journal addressed that point on Friday evening:

It’s true that government spending is part of GDP, and spending more can boost reported GDP for a time. But the lesson of the stimulus—which spent hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to the states—is that this boost is temporary and fades when the spending ends.

Mr. Obama also misdiagnoses state and local government layoffs. They aren’t the result of falling state and local revenues, which have increased by 6% over the last two years, according to the Census Bureau. The problem is that the cost of worker benefits is growing faster than revenues. Governments are having to lay off workers to pay for their rising pension and health bills. …

The fair if depressing takeaway from Mr. Obama’s press conference is that he continues to believe, despite three and a half years of failure, that more government spending is the key to faster growth and that government really doesn’t need to reform. This is how you get a jobless rate above 8% for 40 months and the weakest economic recovery in 60 years.

It’s also how one comes away thinking that “the private sector is doing fine” when its only adding jobs at an 86,300-per-month pace over the recovery, with its latest report a +69,000, numbers well under the 125K-150K pace needed to keep up with population growth.

Update: Team Romney hit Obama with a new web ad today on this same point, titled “Fine?”

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.”

·         PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.”(President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

WOMAN: “We’ve seen layoffs, cutbacks.”
MAN: “When it’s all said and done I’m making $200 a month.”
WOMAN: “I’ve been looking for a job for two years haven’t found any.”
MAN: “I had to file my own personal bankruptcy and had to close my business.”
WOMAN: “Here I am. No healthcare and a slashed pension.”

WOMAN: “I just lost my job recently.”

WOMAN: “I have to work part-time in order to make ends meet.”
MAN: “Sometimes I feel like I’m a failure.”
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine.” (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

·         PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine.” (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine.” (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

·         PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine.” (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “The private sector is doing fine.” (President Barack Obama, Press Conference, Washington, DC, 6/8/12)

James Carville once said, “They can’t punch back if you keep your fist in their face.”  Looks like the Romney campaign learned that lesson well.  Note too that this could easily be worked into a 30- or 60-second TV spot … and probably will.


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