Obama sticking with ‘incomplete’ grade on economy
September 4th, 2012
09:43 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama sticking with ‘incomplete’ grade on economy

(CNN) – Republicans pounced Tuesday after President Barack Obama assigned himself an “incomplete” grade on fixing the economy, a line he’s used before but that gained renewed scrutiny from Republicans as the election season heats up.

“You know I would say incomplete,” Obama said when asked what grade he’d give himself on improving the nation’s economy. He was speaking to Colorado television station KKTV.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

The president continued, “But what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term.”

Obama has used the “incomplete” grade previously when assessing aspects of his first term in office, including in an interview on “The View” in May and an interview with ABC last October.

“I’m not going to give myself a grade other than ‘incomplete’ because the work that we started is not yet done,” Obama said.

And in an interview with CBS in August, Obama assigned himself the "incomplete" mark on the first 18 months of his presidency.

"We still have a long way to go," Obama said.

Republicans quickly piled on the latest “incomplete” grade, including Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee.

“Four years into a presidency and it’s incomplete?” Ryan asked incredulously on CBS. “The president is asking people just to be patient with him? Look, the kind of recession we had, we should be bouncing out of it, creating jobs. We’re not creating jobs at near the pace we could. That’s why we're offering big solutions for the big problems we have today.”

Filed under: Economy • President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Halls for Obama

    I hope President Obama tell the Rep. VP that it take more than one to make a team. Team do not have an I in it. If he had lift a hand to help maybe we would have jobs. I hope he knows he did not do any thing to help then he will not do any thing if he get in the White House. He just want to make rich people richer and poor people poorer.

    September 4, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. robert

    Sounds alot like his voting record in the senate,and maybe if they ever get to see his incompletes in collage

    September 4, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Mikey

    I've heard the right complain that this is the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. Of course, this was the worst downturn since the Great Depression... but why let reality color your opinions?

    September 4, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I am sticking with Obama because, as he stated, the work isn't done. That, and a Mitt Romney presidency scares the hell out of me.

    I am not going to fault anyone who doesn't feel Obama deserves a second term because he either didn't live up their expectations or he didn't give them all they wanted. We all know why that happened. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and John Boehner and Eric Cantor were very vocal on where their priorities were ... and it wasn't about America or the good of America.

    I will ask folks to look long and hard hard at Mitt Romney. He's now on vacation, or taking a breather, or whatever. After a disastrous convention which left the country shaking it collective heads. Either he lives in his own little world, or he simply doesn't care. One thing is certain, he isn't presidential material. Not for a country - let alone a world - which is now facing one ongoing struggle after another.

    Mitt has no focus ... no leadership ... no vision ... no outreach ... no solutions. Begging the question: why is he running for President.

    We all saw the damage the Republicans did to America in 2007. We've seen their Jobs, Jobs, Jobs lies. We've seen the damage they did in 2010, taking a recovery and stalling it, regardless of who was affected. This is not a party in control, and this is not a party good for America.

    September 4, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Really we don’t know the affect and cost of 9/11, Afghan war, Iraq war and Housing bubble
    Experts are coming up with numbers politician and Pundits spinning the numbers. If we ask the numbers right their answers is we don’t know this our rough calculation

    No body knows how depth is the problem so I decided to give second chance for Obama

    September 4, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    We would be much better off if the President had more help from Congress, but the repugs' main agenda has been to make him a one-term President. They care nothing for America, or its people.

    Someone in his administration needs to do more to point out that the policies of this administration have had little chance.
    Since the first year and a half, when this country experienced a great economic turnaround, most of Obama's agenda has been blocked, first by filibuster in the Senate after the repugs got 41 votes, and then in the House when the American voters gave the repugs control.

    It's hard to move forward when a group, like mcconnel's bunch or the House repugs, has their foot on the brakes.

    September 4, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. R Holland

    Hold Obama to his word, if the economy isn't better then make him a one term president.

    September 4, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Yonni

    Sound bit: that is what it count as a politics for Republican Party intellectuals Rush and Shawn the followers (Romeny/Ryan/RNC) always get in line to repeat the sound bit until it is worn-out.

    September 4, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. anonoymous

    Im I better off? sure am! hate to think what would be occurring now with Mccain/Palin. A more scary thought is R/R. Im sticking with what I got.

    September 4, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  10. sonny chapman

    Hey Paul Ryan, have you seen how the Worldwide Economy is doing ? Every body is hurting, even China. This IS like the 1930's World Wide Economic meltdown. There will be no "bouncing out". And what is you & Mitt's Economic Plan ? Tax Cuts, Deregulation & More War. We tried that 8 years ago. It was called George W. Bush.

    September 4, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Republican supporter of President Obama

    I would flip the question on the GOP and ask them what is their grade for 2008 and also how they would grade themselves for their "leadership" in Congress. They want the keys to the country yet they were unwilling to do ANYTHING to help the current administration.

    This is what is boils down to: One administration builds things (President Obama) and the next one (hopefully not) will tear it down. They say they want to replace Obamacare but they did not sya with what and also outline any REAL specifics on what is wrong with it. Smoke and mirrors I say – with a decent helping of mud.

    September 4, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    Incomplete??? More like incompetent.

    September 4, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. kakaraka

    It's time Paul Ryan is called up. He's part of the problem with his house republicans and senators who have blocked all President's effort to create jobs and improve the economy. They nevey pass any single job bill to create jobs quickly. Where are the jobs the GOP promised during the 2010 election? They fooled the american people then. No more now. Paul Ryan is just another washington insider politician.

    September 4, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Phyllis G Williams

    Could any human being fix the economy he inherited ; a problem totally in the hands of others?

    September 4, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. gt

    wow...thats kinda like a f.....you did not complete what you were suppose to do...yep...f ..is the correct grade...

    September 4, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. linda

    Yes America is better off....just think where we would be if McCain and Palin had won....we would be in Syria, North Korea, Iran and God know where else....just think how many more of us could be employed if the Republicans would have just met this President halfway instead of trying to make him a one term president.....how many more could have stayed in their homes if the GOP had worked at their jobs you and I elected them to do instead of stonewalling at every thing this Admistration tried to do.......OBAMA AGAIN for another 4 YEARS!!!!!!!!

    September 4, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. sonny chapman

    Are YOU better off now than 4 years ago ? If you're an auto worker in the Midwest, YES. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, YES. If you are a soldier who WAS in Iraq or is coming back from Afghanistan, YES. I you were gay & serving in the Military,YES. If you were a women who had a Lili Ledbetter situation, YES. If you're Osama Bin Laden, NO.

    September 4, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. altondrew

    I thought you had to at least put your name on a test before you could get an incomplete. After all these years of blaming George Bush for the economy, has Mr. Obama been accountable enough to say he has put his name on the test?

    September 4, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. PeterD

    America Don't Need Incomplete and Incompetent President.

    September 4, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. WiredWeirdinSF

    Incomplete? He has finished to 401K I had, got to take my money to give to the dope addicts, welfare frauds and corrupt union bosses that make up his supporters.

    September 4, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. Anonymous

    R Holland

    Hold Obama to his word, if the economy isn't better then make him a one term president.

    Does this also include the Republican controlled House? They ran on jobs ... and delivered zilch. Oh, by the way. The economy is better. Google 2007 – 2008 and remind yourself just how bad it was when Obama first took office.

    September 4, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    I think this remark is just a sucker punch for conservatives to jump all over. While Pres. Obama is talking hard facts and policies in his economic vision for the future, the conservatives will not. The conservatives are preoccupied with saying, "See. We told you so. The economy is not as good as it could be." It's working, too.

    September 4, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Susan in Arkansas

    If Obama is giving himself an "incomplete" for the economy, then the Republican Congress gets a big, old FAT "F," and their supporters should be sent back to school to retake Civics 101, so that they will have a true understanding as to just how this country works, not from a political standpoint, but a functioning government standpoint.

    September 4, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. PETE

    Help from Congress?

    Really? Obama owned both houses and the White House for the first two years. He did so well the Democrats got hammered in the mid-terms. Stop blaming Congress for Obamas dismal failures. Can't wait to see him exit the WH in January. Maybe then we can get this country back up out of the sewers and move ahead.

    September 4, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Ron L- Mich

    While I think the word "incomplete" is accurate, I really wish the President would have given a more complete answer. The reality is, people like me an tooling engineer that was unemployed until the automotive industry rebounded are in much better economic shape then many other Americans. But with so many of us still looking for work after being unemployed 6 months to a year it would be arrogant to think there isn't more work to do. The thing that irritates me the most about this situation is the fact that in the last two years the Republicans have refused to even agree to a robust infrastructure bill!! They KNOW the country needs it, they KNOW it would help the economy, and they KNOW the only reason they said NO is they wanted the unemployment figure to hover around 8% in November, because at 7% Mitt would not have a chance. The last year could and would have been better for the average American if it weren't for the hard line, no compromise position, the Republicans currently in.

    September 4, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
1 2