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Special Report

Hume: Primacy of public vs. private sector

President Obama's assertion that the private sector is doing fine was no gaffe, and his later comment that the economy is not doing fine was no backtrack. In fact, both remarks were completely consistent with each other and with Mr. Obama's clear belief in the primacy of the public sector over the private.

Remember his graduation speech four years ago at Wesleyan University in which he spoke proudly of his days as a community organizer and suggested that a private sector career -- quote -- "betrays a poverty of ambition."

Remember too how much stimulus money went to shore up public payrolls across the country. On Friday, he fretted that the economy was suffering because too many public employees face layoffs.

In fact, as you just heard, the unemployment rate among government workers in May was 4.2 percent, roughly half the national average, and the lowest of any sector. The President, however, wants more teachers, cops and firemen hired, using federal money.

Never mind that 40 per cent of that money must be borrowed from China or elsewhere. In his mind, this is the way to stimulate the economy, and of course, to extend vital government work. So it's not just politics that keeps him so close to public sector unions. It's his genuine belief in the importance of the work -- and the spending -- their members do compared to that in private sector. This is who he is.