"Doing fine"? No? Well, President Barack Obama feels your pain.
Obama's re-election campaign released a new ad on Monday that portrays him as personally worried about struggling Americans and accuses Republicans of distorting his comment that the private sector is "doing fine."
The 30-second commercial is set to run in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Florida—pivotal battlegrounds in the November election. The campaign did not initially announce the ad, the existence of which was first reported by the Huffington Post. Officials confirmed its existence but did not explain the unorthodox rollout.
The decision to run the ad suggests that Republican attacks turning Obama's own words against him have been effective. Obama told reporters at the White House nearly three weeks ago that "the private sector is doing fine" compared to the cash-strapped public sector, which has been laying off teachers, police and firefighters. The media jumped on the remark as a gaffe, and Republicans seized on it to argue that the president thought the economy as a whole was in nifty shape. Hours after that comment, Obama accused Republicans of "playing games" with his words and stressed that "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine." The ad opens with Obama describing how he hears from Americans struggling in the sputtering economy and knows that "it wears on them" when they've been out of work for a long time.
"Mitt Romney and his billionaire allies can spend millions to distort the president's words. But they're not interested in rebuilding the middle class. He is," the narrator says.