Posted byÂ Dan Farber, CBS News
InÂ hisÂ “60 Minutes” interview with Steve Kroft, President Obama explained his view on how his administration and the Democratic party got “shellacked” in the midterm elections and what he plans to do to change course and re-energize his party. Meanwhile, the GOP is plotting its strategy to make Mr. Obama a one-term president.
Mr. Obama gave his rationale for why his party lost so many seats in the House and Senate. “So, people are looking and saying, ‘Well government intervened a lot, spent a lot of money, and yet, I still don’t have a job or my neighbor still doesn’t have a job or that home is still being foreclosed down the block.’ And our argument was, ‘Well, we had to take these steps to stabilize the economy and things would be a lot worse if we hadn’t taken these steps.’ And people say, ‘Well, you know what? That’s not particularly persuasive to us.'”
Republicans were successful in painting Mr. Obama as a tax-spend-expand government president, and took advantage of his inability to connect with the voting public, especially younger voters and independents who supported him in 2008.
“… the Republicans were able to paint my governing philosophy as a classic, traditional, big government liberal,” Mr. Obama told Kroft. “And that’s not something that the American people want. I mean, you know, particularly independents in this country. But I think most Democrats and Republicans, they want a government that works, but they want one that’s lean. One that’s not wasting money. One that is looking after their interests, but isn’t engaged in a whole bunch of giveaways.
“And I think the Republicans were successful in creating a picture of the Obama Administration as one that was contrary to those commonsense, Main Street values about the size of government. And so, it I think it is fair to say that, you know, the American people don’t want to see some massive expansion of government. And I think the good thing is that having gotten through this emergency, I think what people will see over the next two years is probably a better reflection of the kinds of long term priorities that I want to set for the country.”
Mr. Obama’s admission that the Republicans successfully created a picture of his administration as big government out of control doesn’t mean he thinks his policies and efforts to get through what he calls an “emergency” were flawed.
“We made the right decisions in making sure that we stabilize the economy. But in terms of setting the tone and how this town operates, we just didn’t pay enough attention to some of the things that we had talked about. And, you know I’m paying a political price for that,” he told Kroft.
In part, as some critics said, Mr. Obama didn’t pay enough attention to creating a narrative that gave voters confidence that he could ease the economic pain of millions of Americans. Instead he often laid blame on the Republicans past and present for creating such a challenging set of problems to overcome.
In 2010 campaign speeches, heÂ frequently used an analogy about how the Republicans drove the economy into a ditch.
“I’ve been using this analogy as I travel the country. Imagine the Republicans driving the economy into a ditch. And it’s a deep ditch. It’s a big ditch. And somehow they walked away from the accident, and we (Democrats) put on our boots and we rappelled down into the ditch. … We’ve been pushing, pushing, trying to get that car out of the ditch,” he said during a campaign speech in October.
To read more, visit: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20022025-503544.html
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