Transcript: President Barack Obama, Part 2
Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given fails to block a shot by Spain's David Silva during the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group C match between Spain and Ireland in Gdansk, Poland, Thursday, June 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison) (Peter Morrison)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We do, and I think there's no doubt that over the next two years, I've got to make sure that that same spirit of openness and engagement with the American people and all sectors of the economy is a focus. As I said, you know, I think because we came in during crisis, we had sort of a narrow-tunnel vision on just getting the job done.
Well, part of the job is engaging people -- listening, making sure that they feel that they're bein' heard, gettin' out of here, gettin' out of the White House, gettin' out of Washington. And you know, that's not just good by the way in terms of developing policy -- 'cause I think a lotta people have good ideas -- it's good for me. It's good for my spirits, good for my soul.
You know, the thing I enjoy most about the presidency is when I've got a chance to interact with folks in a backyard town hall, in you know, buyin' some donuts in a store. You know, that's when things aren't scripted, that's when you're not, you know, spending all your time just goin' through a bunch of talkin' points.
That's when I get most optimistic about America because I'm reminded of how wonderful this country is and how diverse it is, and for all the arguments we have, how our core values are widely shared across this country. And we should be able to pull together to do better than we're doin' right now.
KROFT: You're halfway through --
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Uh-huh.
KROFT: -- your first term. What's the most important thing you've learned about your two years here, about yourself, about the job?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that I've learned that America is incredibly resilient. We went through as bad of a financial crisis as anything in our lifetimes. And you know, the country has bounced back. It's not bounced back all the way, but people are tough, and folks work hard, and they're not easily shaken. It has been so impressive to me the way folks have been able to just keep goin' about their business. Some of them in very difficult circumstances.
I think I've learned about myself that I'm pretty resilient too. I'll get knocked down a couple of times. But when I read letters about folks who've lost their jobs and haven't been able to find one, sent out resume after resume, and then finally after a year and a half, they get hired, you know, that inspires me. It says to me, "You know what, whatever I'm goin' through, it's nothin' like what families around the country are goin' through. And if they are able to keep goin' even when things don't go the way they want then I sure can as well."
KROFT: Do you get discouraged? Are you discouraged now?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No you know, I do get discouraged, I mean, there are times where you think, "Dog-gone-it you know, the job numbers aren't movin' as fast as I want." And you know, I thought that the economy would have gotten better by now. You know, one of the things I think you understand -- as president you're held responsible for everything. But you don't always have control of everything. Right?
And especially an economy this big, there are limited tools to encourage the kind of job growth that we need. But I have fundamental confidence in this country. I am constantly reminded that we have been through worse times than these, and we've always come out on top. And I'm positive that the same thing is gonna happen this time.
You know, there are gonna be setbacks, and we may take two steps forward and one step back, but the trajectory of this country is always positive. And that's something that that prevents me from getting too discouraged.
KROFT: You seem to feel that things are getting better. I sense that. One of the things that drives business crazy is this idea that they don't know what's going on. They have trouble planning. They don't know what the tax rates going to be
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right.
KROFT: They're not convinced that things are getting better.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. Well there are two separate arguments here. I think a lot of businesses still don't know what the economy is doing. They don't know, are consumers gonna start buyin' again? You know, are we gonna start getting the virtuous cycle, where because businesses start hiring, the people who get hired start shoppin', which means other businesses are hirin', and everybody starts feelin' better about the economy.
There's still a lotta uncertain data out there. And we're still workin' through some big problems of the economy. The housing market is a huge headwind. I think there was actually a lot of optimism back in April right before the Greek crisis, when suddenly a lotta companies who were planning to hire kinda pulled back and said, "Gosh, there may still be a lotta, you know, uncertainty in the global financial market."
So I do think that businesses have not yet committed to the kind of expansion that would involve a lotta hiring because they're nervous [that] maybe we're not completely out of the woods yet. And part of my job is to work with them to inspire that confidence.
Now, the second part of uncertainty, and this is the one that the Republicans focused a lot on during the campaign is, we've got a new healthcare law, we've got a new financial regulatory reform law. We don't know what all these regulations coming out of various agencies might be, and so that's making people hesitate.
And you know, I think that it is entirely legitimate that in the banking sector, it's very important for us to write these rules in collaboration with interested parties so that they can start knowin' how things are gonna work. When it comes to healthcare, we need to be consulting with the insurance industry to make sure they know how things are gonna work.
On the other hand, you know, Apple computer is makin' an awful lotta money right now under the exact same laws as some other companies. And the main reason they're makin' a lotta money is 'cause people are buyin' a lotta iPads. You know Caterpillar's sellin' an awful lotta big machinery and makin' good profits because they know there's some demand there.
So I think it's important for us to work to reduce regulatory uncertainty. I think it's important for us to see are there ways we can eliminate red tape when it comes to how businesses interact with government. I think getting things like the R&D tax credit for businesses, you know, settled, makin' that permanent so that people can start makin' investments, I think that's somethin' that's very important.
But probably the biggest uncertainty right now for a lotta companies is there gonna be enough demand out there for the products, and we've gotta make sure that we're workin' with them to try to improve that.
- Bill Gates 2.0
- Bill Gates on Steve Jobs: We grew up together
- Preview: Michael Jackson
- The Rescue of Jessica Buchanan
- Preview: A Long and Dangerous Journey
- Preview: A Face in the Crowd
- The Rescue of Jessica Buchanan, Succeeding As Civilians, Bill Gates 2.0
- Show Schedule
- Hitler's Secret Archive
- "Big Brother" is big business?
- Angelina Jolie: I would love to live a long life
- Bill Gates 2.0
- The Rescue of Jessica Buchanan
- A look in Michael Jackson's closet
- How Bill Gates' school launched his life's work
- Succeeding As Civilians