◼ Obama Backs Off Comment 'Private Sector Is Doing Fine'... - Micheal D. Shear/New York Times
◼ 'Private Sector' Comment Becomes a Public Gaffe - Sudeep Reddy/Wall St. Journal
It was just six words from a 29-minute news conference, but President Barack Obama's assertion that "the private sector is doing fine" looks primed to play a starring role in this already-fevered campaign season....◼ 'The private sector's doing fine': Obama's astonishing claim as he blames U.S. economic woes on anyone but himself... but backpedals just hours later - Toby Harnden/Daily Mail
Mr. Obama's Republican presidential challenger, Mitt Romney, called the comment "an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding" by the president. "I think he's defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people," Mr. Romney said at a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Mr. Obama sought to clarify the remarks later in the day, saying "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine." He nonetheless again noted the rebound in private-sector job growth and corporate profits to contend that the private sector has "not been the biggest drag on the economy."
Either way, in an election year likely to be defined by voters' perceptions of the economy, the damage was done....
◼ UPDATE: S&P keeps US rating unchanged, outlook 'negative' - AFP via Drudge