Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday suggested that most government workers were a waste of taxpayer dollars because they spend their days looking for "places they can interfere."

At a campaign event in San Diego, California, the former Massachusetts governor told supporters that there were a "class of individuals" in Washington, D.C. -- including President Barack Obama -- who did not understand how the American economic system worked.

"What's happening today in Washington is an attack on free enterprise, an attack on economic freedom unlike anything we have ever seen before, partially as a result of the perspective of the president, partially as a result of the perspective of the many bureaucrats, the thousands upon thousands of bureaucrats that work in Washington," Romney explained.

"During the president's term so far, he has added 140,000 more government workers," he continued. "Not only do we have to pay for them, but they have to do something every day. So, they look at things they can do, alright? Places they can interfere."

Romney seems to be repeating a Bureau of Labor Statistic claim (PDF) promoted by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and other conservatives that 140,000 government jobs were added during President Barack Obama's first 1,000 days in office.

While many federal jobs were temporarily added to conduct the U.S. Census in 2010, Think Progress estimated last year that over 500,000 government jobs had actually been eliminated by in the public sector since the president took office.

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast March 26, 2012.