Campaign 2012: Obama vs. Romney

In separate interviews, President Barack Obama and his challenger, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, discuss the election year's hot-button issues

Kroft: Your opponent, Gov. Romney, has another note. That's unemployment. Forty-three months above eight percent. Huge profits on Wall Street. You've got the stock market that's doing incredibly well. And yet you've still got this unemployment.

Obama: Oh, absolutely. Well look, nobody's more concerned about the employment situation than I am. The problem we have was the hole was so deep when we got in it that we lost nine million jobs. We've created four point six. We've still got a long way to go. Now I've put forward very specific plans that we know would create jobs. And that's not my opinion. That's the opinion of independent economists. My JOBS Act that I presented to Congress over a year ago, we said, "Let's help put folks back to work. Let's make sure that we are getting construction workers on the job, rebuilding our infrastructure." It's estimated that would create an additional million jobs right now. But we haven't seen full implementation of that plan.

Kroft: You've tried things that haven't worked. I mean, the jobs plan, the jobs bill -- you haven't been able to get it through Congress.

Obama: Well Steve...

Kroft: I mean, isn't that some of your responsibility?

Obama: I take full responsibility for everything that we do, Steve. But you're asking two different questions. You're asking question, number one, have I been able to get every plan that would work through a Republican Congress that said it's number one priority was beating me as opposed to helping the American people? And there is no doubt that I've been disappointed in trying to get more cooperation from those folks. And that's something that we're going to have to continue to do. The second question you're asking, though, is has what we've done worked? And the fact of the matter is that what we've done has been effective in improving the situation in every area that we're talking about. You know, when I made the decision to save the auto industry, that saved a million jobs. One in eight jobs in Ohio is dependent on the auto industry. So we've actually seen success.

Kroft: How are you going to get the Republicans to agree to a tax increase for the top two percent? You've been trying for a year. You haven't been able to do it. And you've got a majority of Republicans in Congress, including Gov. Romney, who has signed a pledge never to increase taxes under any circumstances.

Obama: Yeah, well, we--

Kroft: How are you going to get them to change their minds and make this deal?

Obama: I won't get them to-- make them change their minds. The American people will. I mean, ultimately, the American people agree with me that the only way we bring down our deficit is to do it in a balanced way. So, keep in mind, I've agreed with the Republicans. And we've already cut a trillion dollars of spending. And I've told them I'm prepared to do additional spending cuts and do some entitlement reform. But what I've said is, "You can't ask me to make student loans higher for kids who need it or ask seniors to pay more for their Medicare or throw people off of health care and not ask somebody like me or Mr. Romney to do anything, not ask us to do a single dime's worth of sacrifice."

Kroft: How are you going to make a deal? Why can't you -- Why haven't you been able to make a deal?

Obama: Well, be--

Kroft: And why do you think you will be able to make a deal?

Obama: When I first came into office, the head of the Senate Republicans say, "My number one priority is making sure President Obama's a one term president." Now, after the election, either he will have succeeded in that goal or he will have failed at that goal. Either way, my expectation is, my hope is, that that's no longer their number one priority. And I'm hoping that after the smoke clears and the election season's over that that spirit of cooperation comes more to the fore.

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