In a "60 Minutes" interview with Steve Kroft, President Obama disputes the notion he is trying to redistribute wealth with his plans to treat the country's economic ills. He tells Kroft he's just attempting to deliver the "American Deal" of a strong middle class "where everybody is able to do their part and everybody's able to succeed." Kroft spoke to the president yesterday at the White House and Tuesday in Osawatomie, Kan., for a "60 Minutes" interview to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
In the interview, Kroft points out that in his speech in Kansas, he mentioned income inequality, a phrase that suggests a need to redistribute wealth. The president quickly responded:
President Obama: Look, everybody's concerned about inequality. Those folks in there, who were listening to the speech, those are teachers and small-business people, and probably some small-town bankers, who are in there thinking to themselves, "How is it that I-- we're -- working so hard, we now have Mom and Dad working hard, maybe if they're lucky, they might have two jobs to try to pay off their house note, and it just seems like they're treading water? And meanwhile, they know that corporate profits are at a record level, that a lot of folks are doing very well. What's happened to the bargain? What's happened to the American deal that says, you know, we are focused on building a strong middle class?
That is not a left or right position. That is an American position. And the question is going to be, in this election, whether or not we are able to reclaim that vital center of American thought and American values that says, "We're all in this together and, you know, it matters if we are building a broad-based middle class, where everybody is able to do their part and everybody's able to succeed.