President Obama's campaign has been plagued in recent weeks by high-profile supporters like former President Bill Clinton and Newark Mayor Cory Booker undermining his message. On Friday, it was the president himself putting his foot in his mouth.
"The private sector is doing fine," he said during a press conference with reporters. Obama was attempting to explain how Europe's economic crisis related to the U.S. economy and what lessons he hoped we could learn from the eurozone's handling of it.
But his statement--made at a time when the economy is still struggling to recover and unemployment remains above 8 percent--will likely strike many as tone deaf.
"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," said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to a crowd at a campaign event in Iowa.
Romney, a wealthy former businessman who has made a number of comments described as "out of touch" took advantage of the opportunity to turn the tables on Obama.
"He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch?" said Romney. "He's defining what it means to be out of touch with the American people."
The Republican National Committee also quickly took advantage of the president's gaffe by producing a Web ad juxtaposing it with headlines detailing economic calamity.
And many Republicans have taken to Twitter to criticize the remark, many comparing it to the statement made in 2007 by then-GOP nominee John McCain when he said the "fundamentals of the economy are strong" despite the fact that it was in the beginning of a freefall.
Recent polling shows Obama and Romney running neck-and-neck in the race, with the economy being the top issue for most voters. It's unlikely one comment is going to sink either candidate, but it serves to further reinforce the impression a majority of voters have that Romney is better equipped to address the country's economic problems.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter.