President Barack Obama declared Friday that “the private sector is doing fine,” drawing instant criticism from Republicans who said it showed a lack of understanding of the nation’s economic woes. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney responded, “Is he really that out of touch?”

Reacting to the GOP critique, the president later sought to clarify his remarks, saying that it was “absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.” He said that while there had been some “good momentum” in the private sector, public sector growth lagged behind, making it imperative that Congress act on his proposals to boost state and local government jobs.

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