It didn’t take long for Mitt Romney to hit the hanging curve Barack Obama threw earlier today in his press conference. Speaking in Iowa, a key swing state in the election, Romney asked whether any American President has been more out of touch with economic reality:
Now this morning, the President had a press conference. I don’t know if you heard it, but he called a press conference and pulled people in and said a number of things, and one of the most interesting things he said was this: he said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people. Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10% over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures, for the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.
The LA Times picks up on the story:
Mitt Romney hit back at President Obama‘s comments Friday morning that the private sector was “doing fine,” with the GOP nominee saying it was evidence that the president does not understand the economy or the financial struggles facing Americans.
“Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people,” Romney told supporters gathered in a park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality?”
Romney countered by reeling off a litany of statistics about the nation’s economic plight — 23 million Americans unemployed, underemployed or dropped out of the labor force; the economy growing at a meager 1.9% in the first quarter; the median income dropping by 10% over the last four years; and record home foreclosures.
“For the president of the United States to stand up and say that the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who is out of touch and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again,” Romney said.
“Extraordinary miscalculation” sounds about right. This could very well be a tipping point for Obama, who was going to have a tough time defending his economic record in any case. The only saving grace for the President might be that it happened this early in the cycle, and that subsequent events might allow his laughable remark to fade from memory. However, I’d bet that the Romney campaign will be making that statement the centerpiece of every ad about economic policy they run from now until November. They certainly won’t let Obama forget he said it.
Update: It didn’t take long for the RNC to cut this ad:
That won’t be the last one, either.