Obama: U.S. not in danger of second recession
ATKINSON, ILL. - At the end of his Midwest bus tour, CBS News senior business correspondent Anthony Mason interviewed President Obama for this week's "Sunday Morning" program. Mason asked Mr. Obama which way he thinks the economy is headed.
Mason reports Mr. Obama said he was happy to be out of Washington - and he looked it. He insisted he was on a listening tour, not a campaign swing. But in his three day bus trip across Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois - three states he carried in the last election - he has been getting an earful about the economy.
Obama: I think what the markets were reacting to was the fact that the economy has not grown as quickly as it needs to. There have been a lot of headwinds: the European debt crisis, Japan, high gas prices from the Arab Spring and what a lot of folks are worried about is that the recovery that we have been on is stalling or not moving as quickly as it needs to.
Mason: Do you think we're in danger of another recession?
Obama: 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 doing more.
Mason: The concern last week and the week before was that the market was saying we were closer to it than we thought and that, in fact, the markets themselves might cause consumers to pull back and take us into a recession.
Obama: Well what is absolutely true is that confidence matters. We should not have had any kind of brinksmanship around the debt ceiling. I wish the Speaker had taken me up on a grand bargain to deal with long term debt and deficit. We still have the opportunity to fix that, it's not too late. I will be putting forward a plan that will be very similar to the plan that I put forward to the Speaker.
We can fix these problems. Compared to a lot of countries around the world, the adjustments we have to make are so much more modest and I think that's part of the reason why the Americans are so frustrated. It'd be one thing if we had the kinds of problems like Greece did - where you potentially have to completely restructure your economy and your society.
That's not the situation here. Here we're talking about closing some loop holes in the tax code, making some modest adjustments in entitlements, paring back a little bit on programs that don't work. And if we do that - on the back of an envelope I could show you what it would take for us to do it - most folks wouldn't notice.
Watch below: Obama's economic jumpstart planLater in the day, Anthony Mason caught up with President Obama again, and asked him about his upcoming vacation.
"This has been a scary summer for a lot of people - the stock market, economy is struggling ," Mason said. "Should Congress be back in Washington. Should you be going on vacation?"
"Well no," Mr. Obama replied. "Because I think that if all we're doing is the same posturing that we saw before the debt limit vote that's not going to encourage anybody. That's going to discourage people. The reason I'm out here is to remind people what the expectations of ordinary Americans are. In small towns like this and in big cities all across America, they are saying to their representatives stop playing games and get something done."
The White House says Mr. Obama will offer a new jobs and economic growth plan after Labor Day. But Mr. Obama did not offer details. CBSNews.com's Brian Montopoli reports Mr. Obama "is expected to call for tax cuts, help for the long-term unemployed and infrastructure spending in that speech. He has already called for a so-called "infrastructure bank" to spur growth, an extension of the payroll tax cut and Congressional passage of trade deals he says will help the economy."
Mr. Obama is heading to Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts. He and his family will be there about ten days.
There has been criticism of Mr. Obama's vacation. So we asked CBS News White House radio correspondent Mark Knoller for a comparison.
Knoller reports Mr. Obama has taken 61 days vacation so far. At the same point in their presidencies, George W. Bush had spent 180 days at his ranch where his staff often joined him for meetings. And Ronald Reagan spent 112 days at his ranch. Among recent presidents, Bill Clinton took the least time off -- 28 days.
(Watch left: Dickerson on Obama's post-Labor Day plansAccording to a gallup poll back in 2009, 73 percent of Americans said Mr. Obama was a strong leader. By May 2010, that was down to 60 percent. This spring, it fell to 52 percent.
About that upcoming speech from Mr. Obama, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson says "the President is going to speak and he's going to make two pitches; he's going to offer an economic plan for the short term and the long term. In the short term it will be a set of specific proposals aimed at getting the economy going quickly. We've heard some of details in that proposal before. He's going to call for an extension of unemployment benefits, he's going to call for an extension of the payroll tax cut. He's also going to offer some new things the white house says we haven't heard about before."
If the White House is so worried about the president's poll ratings with regard to leadership, what do they intend to do about it?
"They're very worried about that," Dickerson says. "They want to show the president is engaged with the number one issue that people care about which is jobs and that he is working everyday to find some kind of a solution. The problem is that the only way those leadership numbers are going to improve is if the president can actually do something to improve the economy. If people start to see their lives change, that's a very long and slow change. And every time he gives a speech it does add to the feeling that people have that he's just talking about the issue. They want to see actual results and that's the best way to improve those leadership numbers."
Tune into "Sunday Morning" this weekend for more of Anthony Mason's interview with President Obama.
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