After saying President Barack Obama does not care about the private sector, Mitt Romney on Friday dismissed unemployment in the public sector, saying the country does not need more firemen, policemen or teachers.
"He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers," Romney said at a press conference. "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."
Obama told reporters on Friday that "the private sector is doing just fine" -- handing the GOP a talking point that it quickly used for a video, press releases and remarks. He made the statement as part of a larger point about public sector job loss, and later clarified the statement to say it is "absolutely clear" the economy is not "doing fine."
Republicans equated Obama's statement with a failure to recognize the high unemployment rate, which includes public sector workers. While 82,000 jobs were added in the private sector in May, 13,000 government jobs were eliminated.
Romney invoked Wisconsin a few days after Republican Gov. Scott Walker (R) retained his post during a recall election, which was held after an uproar over his effort to restrict public employees' collective bargaining rights. But firefighters and policemen, whom Romney mentioned, are actually exempted from that portion of the Wisconsin law.