Obama: ‘As president I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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In an interview with CBS News’ Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes” Sunday night, President Obama accepted responsibility for “everything” that has happened under his watch — at least to a “degree.”

“Look, nobody’s more concerned about the employment situation than I am,” Obama said, reacting to the state of the economy.

“The problem we have was the hole was so deep when we got in. We lost 9 million jobs. We’ve created 4.6 [million]. We’ve still got a long way to go. Now I’ve put forward very specific plans that we know would create jobs. And that’s not my opinion. That’s the opinion of independent economists.”

“My JOBS Act that I presented to Congress over a year ago — we said, ‘Let’s help put folks back to work. Let’s make sure that we are getting construction workers on the job, rebuilding our infrastructure,’” Obama said. “It’s estimated that would create an additional million jobs right now. But we haven’t seen full implementation of that plan.”

While Obama admitted his 2008 mantra of “hope and change” hasn’t been fulfilled in his first term, he did argue he accomplished some “historic” achievements.

“We passed historic legislation that strengthened our financial regulations,” Obama said. “We passed legislation that will not only provide 30 million more people coverage, but also insures, you know, that kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they are 26 and seniors have lower prescription drugs. And so change has happened, and positive change for the American people.”

“I’m the first one to confess that the spirit that I brought to Washington, that I wanted to see instituted, where we weren’t constantly in a political slugfest, but were focused more on problem solving that, you know, I haven’t fully accomplished that. Haven’t even come close in some cases. And you know, if you ask me what’s my biggest disappointment is that we haven’t changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked.”

The president conceded that he deserves some measure of blame for not living up to some of what he promised four years ago.

“As president I bear responsibility for everything, to some degree, and one of the things I’ve realized over the last two years is that that only happens if I’m enlisting the American people much more aggressively than I did the first two years,” he said. 

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