When President Obama looks back on last week, perhaps he’ll remember fondly the pies that first lady Michelle Obama purchased for him at a bakery in Virginia.
Because the rest of the week was a political nightmare.
Mr. Obama’s seven days to forget began with the June 3 Sunday talk shows hashing over the disappointing jobs report from two days earlier.
It was hardly the kind of news to give Mr. Obama momentum heading into the final five months of his re-election campaign. Even the president seemed subdued as he spoke to supporters the night the numbers came out.
“We’re not where we need to be,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama was back up, though, on Monday, campaigning in New York City with former President Bill Clinton.
Then Mr. Clinton gave an interview Tuesday in which he supported extending temporarily the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans to help the economy. That ran counter to the wishes of Mr. Obama, who wants taxes to increase for families earning more than $250,000 per year. Republicans promptly called for Mr. Obama to follow Mr. Clinton’s advice.
After Team Obama reportedly made urgent calls to Team Clinton, the former president tried to clarify his comments. It would become a harbinger for Mr. Obama’s week.
Mr. Obama took more lumps Tuesday when Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin won his recall election and a political ally in New Jersey, Rep. Steven R. Rothman, lost his Democratic primary to Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., who was endorsed by Mr. Clinton. Both House incumbents had been forced to run against each other by redistricting.
More bad news: On Thursday, fundraising statistics released by both campaigns showed that Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, had surpassed Mr. Obama for the first time in May, outraising the president’s campaign $76 million to $60 million.
Mr. Obama capped off his inglorious week by holding a hastily called news conference at the White House on Friday. During a discussion of the economy, Mr. Obama remarked that the “private sector’s doing fine.”
Within an hour, Mr. Romney and other GOP leaders were ridiculing the president for his comment and preparing campaign videos to exploit the gaffe.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, asked the president simply, “Are you kidding?”
By the end of the day, Mr. Obama was forced to clarify his comment, saying “it’s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine.”
As he walked out of that press conference Friday, a reporter called out to Mr. Obama for his reaction to the Wisconsin recall election. The president kept walking.
But before he reached the door, another reporter shouted a final question, asking Mr. Obama if he’d enjoyed the pie that his wife had purchased for him.
The president turned back momentarily, smiled, and gave a thumbs-up.
This week is off to a rough start, too: Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod took to the airwaves Sunday to defend his boss.
He told CNN’s “State of the Union” that while private industry was doing better than the public sector, more needed to be done to accelerate job growth because “we have storm clouds rolling in from Europe,” a reference to the continent’s crumbling economies that threaten global markets.