Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod claimed Mitt Romney is "living on a different planet" when it comes to the economy, brushing off attacks on President Obama's comment at a Friday press conference that the "private sector is doing fine."
"I think the American people are smarter than that," Axelrod told me on "This Week" of the criticism of Obama's remarks on the economy, which were quickly featured in Republican campaign ads. "They understand the president called the press conference to say that because of the storm clouds that are rolling in from Europe and elsewhere, we need to undergird our economy, and he called the press conference to promote several steps he thought we needed to take to strengthen job creation."
The president's comments, which he later clarified, came a week after the Labor Department announced that only 69,000 jobs were created in the United States in May. Mitt Romney, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, lashed out at Obama for his comments Friday, calling him "out of touch" with the American people.
Romney also criticized Obama's push for more public sector hiring, saying of the president, "He says he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
Axelrod seized on Romney's remarks, saying this morning, "Governor Romney chose to jump on the word, but what was most interesting is how he reacted to the spirit of the thing, because his statement was 'we don't need any more teachers,' 'we don't need any more firefighters or police.'"
"Out of touch? We have lost 250,000 teachers in the last … couple of years," Axelrod added. "So I would suggest he's living on a different planet if he thinks that's a prescription for a stronger economy."
Axelrod also continued his criticism of Romney's economic background, saying he has not created jobs in the public or private sector.
"His history as a job creator is suspect," Axelrod said. "His business was not creating jobs. It was creating wealth for his partners, oftentimes at the expense of workers, and that showed in Massachusetts when he was governor."
Rick Santorum, who joined the program after my interview with Axelrod, bashed President Obama for his economic record as he praised Romney's plan to boost the U.S. economy.
"This administration has done more than to crush business than anyone in history," Santorum said, criticizing Obama for a "whole new scale of regulation that we have never seen that is just crushing the free enterprise system in this country."
"I think Governor Romney's plan is far superior," Santorum added. "Governor Romney's plan is about … lowering taxes and getting this economy going in the private sector, which has been dragging."