United States President Barack Obama has admitted that the private economy is “not doing fine” after criticism from opposition Republicans for saying at a press conference that the private sector is “doing fine.”

“Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the Oval Office press conference.

“The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak and too many homes underwater. And that’s precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that can make a difference,” Mr. Obama said.

“I believe that there are a lot of Americans who are hurting right now, which is what I’ve been saying for the last year, two years, three years, what I’ve been saying since I came into office.

And the question then is what are we going to do about it? And one of the things that people get so frustrated about is that instead of actually talking about what would help, we get wrapped up in these political games. That’s what we need to put an end to,” Mr. Obama said.

His clarification came soon after Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney said that he is out of touch for saying the private sector is doing fine.

“The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine,” Obama had told reporters on Friday at a White House news conference.

Mr. Obama’s comment was immediately criticised by Mr. Romney.

“For the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history.

It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again,” Mr. Romney said.

“Has there ever been an American President who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 per cent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10 per cent over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures...,” he alleged.

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