Obama, Romney Duel Online Over Firefighters vs. the Private Sector

Jun 11, 2012 9:38am

ATLANTA – The Romney and Obama campaigns this morning released dueling web videos that hinge on comments made by each of the candidates last week – the president saying the private sector is “doing fine” and the presumptive GOP candidate suggesting he opposes additional firefighters and teachers – as they start the week looking to capitalize the most on the contentious remarks.

The Romney campaign has released its second web video in a 24-hour period that uses Obama’s “private sector doing fine” line, with the Republican candidate’s team relentlessly repeating the comment as evidence that the commander-in-chief is “out of touch.”

Similarly, the Obama re-election campaign released a web video saying that part of Romney’s jobs plan is to eliminate firefighters and teachers after the candidate remarked last week, “He wants to add more to government. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

The Romney campaign web video released this morning, titled “Jolt,” shows footage of newsmakers’ talking about the state of the economy June 1, the day the disappointing May jobs numbers were released.

“Tonight on ‘World News’: Jobs jolt, the worst jobs number in a year,” ABC News’ Diane Sawyer says as the web video begins, as clips from fellow newsmakers’ discussing the state of the economy follow.

Then text that reads “One week later” flashes on the screen, and viewers hear President Obama in his own words: “The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.”

The president’s remarks, delivered during a news conference Friday, have been used by the Romney campaign since, the candidate himself launching into harsh criticism of the president for saying what he did during a campaign event last week in Iowa, and his campaign aides throughout the weekend using the now so-called gaffe to push forward their message that the president doesn’t know how to handle the economy.

The campaign Sunday released its first web video using the president’s private sector remarks, this time drawing on statements from middle-class Americans discussing their struggles in the economy.

The web video – titled “Fine?” – features workers remarking, “We’ve seen layoffs, cutbacks,” and “Sometimes I feel like I’m a failure,” before replaying the president’s “the private sector is doing fine” line three times.

In the Obama campaign’s Web video, which the campaign describes as focusing on Romney’s “job elimination plan,” testimonials from local and state officials describing what it was like during Romney’s governorship in Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

“He did not care what was going on in our communities,” John Barrett, the former mayor of North Adams, Mass., said in the video.

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