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Obama expects to be judged on economy

August 21, 2011|By Kim Geiger
  • President Obama talks with CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason in Atkinson, Ill.
President Obama talks with CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason in Atkinson,… (CBS News )

President Obama does not think the U.S. economy is in danger of falling into another recession, but acknowledged in a televised interview Sunday that his campaign for reelection next year will pivot on the state of the economy.

In an interview with CBS News that was taped last week after Obama's job approval rating hit an all-time low, Obama blamed voters' frustrations and recent stock market turmoil on an economy that's, “not growin' fast enough.”

"I'm the president of the United States and when people aren't happy with what's happening in Washington, that – I'm gonna be impacted just like Congress is,” Obama said. “And you know, I completely understand that and we expected that.” (Watch video of the interview below.)

As he toured the rural Midwest by bus last week, Obama seemed to have snapped back into campaign mode, daring Republicans to block his promised jobs package and calling on voters to “send a message to folks in Washington.”

“And for me to argue, look, we've actually made the right decisions, things would have been much worse had we not made those decisions – that's not that satisfying if you don't have a job right now,” Obama said, adding that he expects, “to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better.”

Economic growth has been weak and the unemployment rate has been above 9% for months.

Obama attributed last week's ups and downs in the stock market to, “a lot of headwinds” from world events – the debt crisis in Europe, the earthquake in Japan and the spike in gas prices caused by the wave of protests that hit the Middle East last spring.

“I don't think we're in danger of another recession, but we are in danger of not having a recovery that's fast enough to deal with what is a genuine unemployment crisis for a whole lot of folks out there – and that's why we need to be doin' more,” he said.

Echoing the hopeful message that served him so well during the 2008 campaign, Obama insisted that Washington is not as broken as voters may believe.

“There have been times when Congress was just as dysfunctional, there's been times where the country was full of vitriol in its politics,” he said. “So this isn't unique in our time.”

He criticized Republicans for recent “brinkmanship” over raising the debt ceiling but said he “absolutely can do business with 'em.”

Obama said he would push Democrats to, “find the kinds of common ground and compromise that allows us to move the country forward.”

“And if that's happening on both sides, there's no reason why we can't solve problems,” he said.

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