Council Bluffs, Iowa - Mitt Romney went on the attack today, calling President Obama "out of touch" and "detached" from the economic reality facing millions of Americans after the President 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," Romney told a crowd of 400 supporters at an outdoor rally in western Iowa, a critical swing state for the presumptive Republican nominee. "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."
Sharpening his attacks against the president, Romney cited a string of disparaging statistics facing American workers and criticized his lack of accomplishments.
"I've got a copy here of his to-do list from his desk. You see, I was able to sneak that out," Romney joked to the enthusiastic crowd. "There are a few things that are missing. Missing is 'lead a real recovery.' Missing is 'reduce the deficit.' Missing is 'save Medicare and Social Security.' Missing is 'help small business.' "
In a last minute news conference earlier today in Washington, Obama told reporters that private sector growth was strong, while the public sector was lagging.
"The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we've created 4.3 million jobs over the last two -- 27 months; over 800,000 just this year alone," the president said. "The private sector is doing fine."
The news conference was a chance for the president to discuss the economic problems facing the country, and highlight steps he has taken to prevent another recession. He once again called on Congress to pass his jobs stimulus package, which members of both parties rejected last year.
The president has had a rough few weeks - poor job numbers, an up-tick in the unemployment rate, and several high profile surrogates going off message have forced his campaign onto the defense. And Republicans, including Romney, have pounced on the opportunities, painting the president as weak on the economy and out of touch with American voters.
The same tactic has been used by Democrats against Romney over the past several months -- portraying him as a corporate raider concerned with profits but not jobs, and as out of touch with average Americans because of his wealth.
In response to the new attacks, Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt tweeted "Being called out of touch by a candidate who joked about being unemployed and said he likes to fire people is rich."