Updated, 1:25 p.m.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Mitt Romney quickly pounced on President Obama’s statement Friday that “the private sector is doing fine,” accusing him of making an “extraordinary miscalculation” that will “go down in history.”
Taking the stage at an outdoor rally here just an hour after Obama’s news conference, the presumptive Republican nominee said the president was detached from Americans who are still struggling in a slow economy. Romney said Obama “doesn’t understand what’s happening in the country he has been elected to lead.”
“He said the private sector is doing fine,” Romney said. “Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people. Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality?”
Addressing about 300 supporters in a grassy downtown park, Romney rattled off a slew of statistics – 23 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, slow economic growth, falling median incomes and record foreclosures – to paint a dire portrait of the U.S. economy.
“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 and misunderstanding by a president who’s out of touch,” Romney said. “We’re gonna take back this country and get America working again.”
Romney then highlighted a comment Obama made at a fundraiser this week in California, in which the president said he had a to-do list in the Oval Office and checks it from time to time, and thinks he’s doing “okay.”
Holding up a piece of paper that he joked was a copy of Obama’s to-do list, Romney said, “there are a few things that are missing.”
“Missing is ‘lead a recovery,’ ” Romney said. “Missing is ‘reduce the deficit.’ Missing is ‘save Medicare and Social Security.’ Missing is ‘help small business.’ ”
Then Romney said there were some things on the list that he wishes Obama would have left off: “One was pass Obamacare … one was stall the development of coal, oil and natural gas. One was multiply regulations on small business, and one was divide the American people.”
Romney added, “I won’t have to have a long to-do list in my drawer at the White House. My to-do list is written on my heart, and the first three entries are these: jobs, jobs and jobs. I’m gonna go to work to get America working again.”
This post has been updated since it was first published.