Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) on Sunday attempted to clarify widely criticized comments recently made by President Barack Obama.

During a news conference on Friday, the president said that 27 straight months of job creation showed the private sector was "doing fine." Republicans quickly pounced on the comments, accusing Obama of being out of touch.

"I think that what the president would have liked to have said in retrospect was while the private sector is improving, and no one can deny we've had 27 months of private sector job growth, the fact of the matter is that the public sector continues to be a drag on the economy, because in 16 of the last 18 months we've had public sector job losses," O'Malley said on CBS News.

"It's as if we take two or three steps forward and one or two steps back. For every three jobs created by the private sector we eliminate a public sector job - teachers, firefighters, police - and that puts a drag on the economy."

More than 142,500 public sector jobs were cut last year, mostly at the state level. The public sector job cuts are expected to continue thanks to tea party victories in 2010.

"I think that most economists would agree with the president that the private sector is doing better and the public sector is doing worse," O'Malley said.

Watch video, courtesy of CBS News, below: