COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA -- Mitt Romney condemned President Obama's assessment of the private sector's health as "fine" on Friday as a misreading of historic proportions.
The presumptive presidential nominee seized on the president's comments hours earlier at the White House, accusing Obama of being "out of touch."
"He said the private sector is doing fine," Romney said. "Is he really that out of touch? I think he's really defining what it means to be out of touch with reality."
Republicans were quick to pounce on Obama's line at a press conference this morning, which was meant to contrast the relative health of the private sector versus the public sector, which has had to weather layoffs prompted by cuts to government spending.
"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," Obama said. "The private sector is doing fine."
(An Obama campaign spokesman emphasized the 3.4 million private sector jobs to have been created during the president's tenure, though said much more work needs to be done.)
"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 as an extraordinary miscalculation by a president who is out of touch," Romney said.
Obama's remarks were intended to goad lawmakers into taking action on his stalled jobs plan, particularly to boost hiring of government workers -- teachers, police and firefighters, among them -- at the state and local level.
Romney labeled that plan as effectively a new round of stimulus.
"He wants another stimulus, he wants to add more government workers," Romney said, "Did he not get the message in Wisconsin?"
NBC's Carrie Dann contributed reporting.