Obama on the 'mistake of my first term'
July 12th, 2012
05:40 PM ET
2 years ago

Obama on the 'mistake of my first term'

(CNN) - President Barack Obama acknowledged in a Thursday interview that he put policy ahead of messaging in his first years as president, and could be more effective at "explaining but also inspiring" if reelected to a second term.

"It's funny – when I ran, everybody said, well he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?" Obama said in the CBS News interview. "In my first two years, I think the notion was, 'Well, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where's the story that tells us where he's going?' And I think that was a legitimate criticism."

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In his Thursday interview, Obama acknowledged that he could do a better job on the "inspiration" front.

"The mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right," Obama said. "And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."

A second Obama term, he said, would involve "getting out of this town, spending more time with the American people, listening to them and also then being in a conversation with them about where do we go together as a country."

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney issued a statement in response, saying, "President Obama believes that millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs and their livelihood because he failed to tell a good story. Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead. No wonder Americans are losing faith in his presidency."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Kimberly

    I cannot wait to see where he takes us! I am very proud of this man, and though there are things that I wish he would do, I know he is trying and I know he has done no harm!! OBAMA 2012! CLINTON 2016!

    July 12, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Name willardbullock

    No excuse for presdient obama

    July 12, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. viknat

    "Where do we go together as a country", first thing we need to do as a country is to elect a real leader

    July 12, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. dyslexic dog

    Sir, respectfully, you ROCK!!!

    July 12, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  5. 2tor

    "The mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right," Obama said

    ... and you couldn't even do that. What is your policy on anything? You fly by the seat of your pants, and accomplish little to nothing.

    July 12, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. bum

    What he means is getting out of town to play a little more golf, more expensive vacations, and some quiet time to write another book. He likes being in the 1% crowd.

    July 12, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. fred37ify

    I would rather have ten root canals without pain killers then see Barrack get a second term ! No way does he get overs !

    July 12, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Bill in Florida

    Hope he gets those four years. He'll go down as one of the best presidents ever if he's reelected.

    July 12, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Alois

    "could be more effective at "explaining but also inspiring" if reelected to a second term." How errogant can this dibbic get. We won't let crackhead obama and his super corrupt administration get another four years to finish destroying our country any further than they already have. deadbeat obama has proven to be the biggest failure and most destructive person that has ever been installed in the W.H.

    July 12, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. Nameobumma

    Bull hockey. The mistake was pushing thru Obumma care when the American people were looking for jobs. He still does not get it!

    July 12, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. Daveinil

    The usual White House arrogance that we don't appreciate what Obama has done because he didn't dumb it down so we could understand it. But if we re-elect him, he'll do a better job in his next term. What about explaining it now, before the election, rather than just attacking Romney.

    July 12, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. jan

    A second Obama term, he said, would involve "getting out of this town, spending more time with the American people, listening to them and also then being in a conversation with them about where do we go together as a country."

    Let begin now! President Obama needs to take a look at what outsourcing has done to the agriculture growth in USA.
    A lot of land maybe some wetlands needs to be developed into farms, farms, farms and farms! Too much Brush in USA. It will create jobs, jobs, and jobs. Please note: In or a about 1958 we had much Debate about 80% farm parity. (being paid not to grow or prouduce agriculturall products in USA.) We were a Big Industrial Nation with money. Why would anybody want to farm when the big bucks was in industry. So we outsource our ag schools and personel to other countries was the way to go. "Farm Welfare". Now, in my humble opinion we have the opposite senario. Lots of land that is not being used to help feed our people and the world in USA. Where does our food come from? Why are food prices going up? I believe that a lot of folks would like to farm land but lack the money for farm equipment.etc..

    July 12, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    You have my vote president Obama ,and good luck in your second term

    July 12, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. al0792

    as a democrat it's sad that I am saying this. his whol term has been a big mistake!!!

    July 12, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. Two Of AKind -

    Too little, too late. You don't take on the job of President of the United States with no clue what you're doing – what you MIGHT do if you get time; or what you weren't capable of doing anyway!

    The first 4 years isn't a damn rehearsal – it's the JOB!

    July 12, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Wow

    "Gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times." It is the unity part that gets me sense Obama has been designated the most partisan “finger pointing” president in modern history!!!!

    July 12, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Dave

    The only faith I've lost is in my own country to see through propaganda and their own racist fears. If people think things are going to get better by going back to the very policies that started this whole downward spiral, they need a check up, from the neck up.

    July 12, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Melo-D

    Hey Willard you know you can take the high road every now and then. This smuck thinks he has to come up with a zinger for everything the president says. What a loser!

    July 12, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  19. Alan

    What a joke. The problem is that we did know what Obama was doing, and anyone with an IQ over 60 knew it was bad for the country.

    July 12, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. mmanr1918

    the day you eat that tree for sure you are not be reelect : sorry no second chance you are finito , be ready to move out.

    July 12, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. AmericanSam

    Why do they have to insult every little thing he says? Every little thing.

    July 12, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. Fire0bama

    0bama is a shameless person.

    July 12, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  23. Donkey Party

    Barack Obama = Leader

    Willard Romney = Liar

    July 12, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. Carol

    Being a good leader is acknowledging mistakes and looking for ways to improve and better one's leadership capabilities – that's exactly what President Obama is doing.

    July 12, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. JasonP

    I'm so sick of the negativity of Mitt. He has this filthy, disgusting aura of negativity and cynicism surrounding him and it's repulsive. I hope the majority of voters feel this way too.

    July 12, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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