The president believes the U.S. unemployment rate could drop to eight percent before the 2012 elections next fall, he tells Steve Kroft in an interview conducted at the White House. Kroft's interview with Barack Obama will be broadcast on "60 Minutes," Sunday Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Following is a partial transcript from the "60 Minutes" interview:
Steve Kroft: Do you think that you might have the unemployment rate down to eight percent by the time the election rolls around?
President Barack Obama: I think it's possible. But...I'm not in the job of prognosticating on the economy. I'm in the job of putting in place the tools that allow the economy to thrive and Americans to succeed. Sometimes when I'm talking to my team, I- describe us...as...I'm the captain and they're the crew on a ship, going through really bad storms. And no matter how well we're steering the ship, if the boat's rocking back and forth and people are getting sick and...they're being buffeted by the winds and the rain and...at a certain point-- if you're asking, "Are you enjoying the ride right now?" Folks are going to say, "No." And are they going to say, "Do you think the captain's good-doing a good job?" People are going say, "You know what? A good captain would have had us in some smooth waters and sunny skies, at this point." And I don't control the weather. What I can control are the policies we're putting in place to make a difference in people's lives.
Steve Kroft: Did you overpromise? Did you underestimate how difficult this was going to be?
President Barack Obama: I didn't overpromise. And I didn't-- underestimate how tough this was going to be. I always believed that this was a long-term project...And-- you know, for individual Americans, who are struggling right now, they have every reason to be impatient...Reversing structural problems in our economy that have been building up for two decades, that was going to take time. It was going to take more than a year. It was going to take more than two years. It was going to take more than one term. Probably takes more than one president.