The Obama “private sector” gaffe — is it as bad as it looks?
- cause During a Friday press conference, President Obama used the phrase “the private sector is doing fine” in comparison to the quickly-shrinking public sector at the state level.
- reaction The political press and many Republicans — specifically the Romney camp — saw this phrase as an obvious gaffe on the part of the president and leaped on it, making it a major issue.
- response Obama’s senior advisor, David Axelrod, dodged deftly, bringing it back to the original point Obama was making. “It’s certainly doing better than the public sector,” he explained. source
» Was Obama’s point valid? It sounded like a pretty good gaffe to some, but Slate’s Dave Weigel thinks that the nuances of the point might’ve been lost on folks looking for a soundbite. As Weigel notes, the public sector at the state level has lost 600,000 jobs under Obama — which, by the way, the GOP is OK with, because they want to see the government shrink anyway. And as public sector and private sector unemployment are counted in the unemployment rate, it’s ultimately part of the reason the unemployment rate has stayed high. “It’s easier to pretend that the president doesn’t care about the private sector, and unemployment,” Weigel notes, “and hope that the media runs with the zinger instead of explaining some pretty rudimentary macroeconomics.”