Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event on… (Whitney Curtis / Getty Images )
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?"
Earlier in the day at a White House news conference, Obama urged Congress to pass jobs legislation that his administration argued would create 1 million jobs for teachers, police officers, construction workers and others. As he made the pitch for public sector jobs, he cited economic gains elsewhere in the economy.
"The truth of the matter is," Obama said, "we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine."
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.
Romney's criticism of Obama echoed Democratic critiques made earlier this year of the Republican nominee for a host of comments he made. They included telling economically stressed voters that he was unemployed, asserting that he likes to fire people -- who, he said, had not performed adequately -- and saying that he was not concerned with the plight of the very poor covered by a safety net.
Democrats argued that those comments and other references, including one to his wife's two Cadillacs -- one for homes on each coast -- demonstrated that the multimillionaire is out of touch with everyday Americans.