Obama: Let me be clear, the economy's not doing fine

The week had to end this way. After they gave Cory Booker the “Cory who?” treatment for going off-message and then twisted Bill Clinton’s arm until he was willing to profess idiocy to get them off the hook, we now have The One finally forced to pooper-scoop himself.

You know it’s a five-alarm fire when the damage control can’t wait two days for Axelrod’s obligatory dreary appearance on the Sunday shows. Status of America’s pain: Felt.

“It’s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine,” the president said while sitting alongside Philippines President Benigno Aquino in the Oval Office. “That’s the reason I had a press conference. That’s why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this past month and this past year talking about how we can make the economy stronger. The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak, too many homes underwater and that’s precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that can make a difference.”…

That said, the president said that there were many other problems with the economy, including small business owners have difficulties securing financing, and state and local governments laying off teachers, police officers and firefighters. That’s why, he said, he was pushing for his “Jobs Bill” that independent economists argue would create a million jobs…

The president said “what I’m interested in hearing from Congress and Mr. Romney is what steps are they willing to take right now that are going to make an actual difference. And so far what we’ve heard are additional tax cuts that the folks who are doing fine as opposed to taking steps that would actually help deal with the weaknesses in the economy and promote the economic growth that we’d all like to see.”

Republicans nationwide are dutifully rubbing his face in his mess this afternoon, first and foremost among them the man of the hour in Wisconsin, but here’s my favorite reaction. Remember how Team O made McCain choke in 2008 when he said the “fundamentals” of the economy were strong? Well, it’s payback time:

[F]ormer McCain aides, now, are relishing the moment.

“McCain was trying to calm people at a moment of real crisis — i think his intentions were good,” one former top aide said in an email. “Obama’s just trying to build support for raising taxes and make the case for his own stewardship.”

Another former McCain aide was blunter.

“We very much look forward watching Team Romney put Obama’s head in a vice over this,” he emailed “What goes around comes around, assholes.”

Words to live by, my friends. Here’s Boehner, with Cantor alongside him, tightening the vice a few hours ago. Exit question: Are we sure the public’s going to scoff at him for what he said about the private sector? Remember, there are a lot of idiots out there think adding 60,000 jobs a month is pretty darned impressive.