By Geneva Sands - 06/11/12 08:01 PM EDT
Mitt Romney's campaign didn't show any signs of easing off its attacks against President Obama's remark that the private sector economy was "doing fine."
Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, continued Monday to hammer the president for comments he made during a Friday morning press conference at the White House.
Romney and GOP supporters have latched on to Obama's statement, arguing that the president has mishandled the economy and is "out of touch" with voters.
"The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government," Obama said Friday before calling reporters in to walk back his earlier comments.
Fehrnstrom argued that if the president thinks the private sector is "doing fine," he won't take the steps needed to lead an economic recovery.
"The first rule of a turnaround is to recognize the magnitude of the problem you're facing," he said.
Fehrnstrom also offered a response to criticism from Democrats who have criticized Romney for saying the country doesn't need more firemen, policemen and teachers.
Obama says “we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers,” Romney said at a campaign stop Friday in Iowa. “Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government.”
When pressed on Romney's comments, Fehrnstrom pivoted to portray Obama as contradictory on public-sector support.
"Of course Mitt Romney respects the job that teachers do and firefighters and policemen, but it was just a month ago that President Obama was bragging about the fact that he has shrunk government employment. Now he's suggesting that increasing the levels of government employment is going to lead us out of these economic problems," he said.
During a speech on the economy at the State University of New York at Albany on May 8, Obama cited a reduction in government jobs under his administration, while pointing out that previous Republican presidents had compensated for national unemployment by bolstering government hiring.
Fehrnstrom went on to contrast what he believes is Obama's economic philosophy with that of Romney's.
"Barack Obama apparently feels you raise taxes, you borrow money, you give those funds to local governments and let them increase the level of public employment. ... Mitt Romney believes that the way to create the recovery is to unleash the power of the private sector," he added.