President Obama says his administration has been "extraordinarily productive" in its first five months in office under "some fairly extraordinary circumstances," but concedes it's made mistakes and that more are likely.
"We're not satisfied," the president told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith in an exclusive interview. "We've got a lot of work to do."
After the challenges posed by developments in Iran and North Korea, and answering criticism thrown his way by former Vice President Cheney, Mr. Obama addressed a broader query from Smith.
"What do you most wish you knew now before you came to the White House?"
"I'm not sure that -- you can ever anticipate what -- what the pace of this is like," the president replied. "I -- I think that by the time I actually was sworn in, we had a pretty clear sense of the magnitude -- of the financial crisis. And I have to tell you -- the -- the -- we've made mistakes, and we'll make some more. I mean, we made some mistakes early on around appointments, and there were some other issues there, in terms of how we rolled out the bank stress test, etc.
"Overall, though -- I think you look at our track record over the last five months -- under some fairly extraordinary circumstances -- we have, I think, been extraordinarily productive. But we're not satisfied. We've got a lot of work to do."
Then, things lightened up.
Smith kidded Mr. Obama about First Dog Bo, saying he appears to be out of control at times.
"Bo -- Bo's -- you know, Bo, he's a teenager,' the president pointed out. "He's a puppy still. And -- he -- he, every once in a while, does get a little frisky. But I would not want just a -- passive dog. I want a -- a dog with a little bit of spirit. And he definitely has some spirit. He's a smart dog, though. And -- and he has a good temperament. You know, he is -- he is very friendly and fun loving. But -- but when he gets out in the south lawn sometimes -- when he breaks loose, it's -- it's tough to catch up with him."
"As our camera crew was breaking down," Smith says, "I had a chance to ask the president about golf. He's gone golfing seven times since he took office. Presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton have often sought refuge on the links -- and, perhaps, now we know why."
What does golf do for Mr. Obama?
"First of all, I'm terrible," the First Golfer said, slightly off-mike as he and Smith spoke in hushed tones to each other. "It is the only time that, for six hours, first of all, that I'm outside. And second of all, where you almost feel normal, in the sense that you're not in a bubble. There are a whole bunch of Secret Service guys, but they're sort of in the woods. And when you're up there in the tee box and you're hacking away, and hitting some terrible shot and your friends are laughing at you, you know, it feels as if, you know- you're -- you're out of the container."
Part One of the interview was aired on the CBS News broadcast Sunday Morning on June 21. To read the transcript, . It dealt with Mr. Obama's views on fatherhood.
aired on The Early Show. It went into the president's thoughts on Iran, North Korea, Dick Cheney, and more.
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