President Obama called a group of reporters into the Oval Office on Friday to follow up on an earlier press conference in which he said "the private sector is doing fine" as part of a broader argument that public-sector layoffs have, by comparison, taken a greater toll on the economy since the 2008 economic crisis.
"The economy needs to be strengthened," Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. "That is why I had a press conference. I believe there are a lot of Americans who are hurting right now. That is what I have been saying for the last year, two years, three years."
Dismissing "political games" around the issue, Obama said Americans should instead focus on choosing a candidate who can articulate a clear solution to the problem.
"The key is, for folks, what I am interested in hearing from Romney, is what steps are they willing to take right now that will make an actual difference? And, so far, all we have heard are additional tax cuts to the folks who are doing fine."
Instead, Obama proposed "taking steps that would help deal with the weakness in the economy," pointing to his proposed American Jobs Act, which would aid state and local governments facing layoffs and invest in infrastructure projects to employ construction workers.