In an interview for CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose asked President Obama what the biggest mistake of his presidency has been. It's a tough question for any president to answer — especially when he's campaigning for reelection — but Obama's answer was fairly straightforward.
In focusing so much on policy, Obama said that he had failed to inspire the nation.
When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well, the mistake of my first term — couple of years — was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. 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.
Then again, Obama was criticized in the past by opponents for telling a story (or at least grandiose speeches) instead of focusing on the specifics of his policy.
But for those who supported him, Obama's approach was perceived as no-nonsense — and that was a good thing. Now some argue it may be a mark against him. As Jonathan Wong puts it, the positive designation "No Drama" Obama has become "cold and disconnected" Obama to some of his critics.
This falls in line with Obama's clarification to Rose, who asked if he meant he should have better explained his policies to the American people. Obama countered with, "Explaining — but also inspiring." First Lady Michelle Obama chimed in with, "Because hope is still there." The concepts of hope and change were, of course, central to the 2008 election.
Naturally, Mitt Romney went on the attack following news of Obama's interview. The Republican candidate released a statement that said, "Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead."
The interview, which was taped on Thursday at the White House, will air on CBS Sunday morning.
[Image via AP]