Obama: My odds are better in 2012 than in 2008

The chairman of the Republican National Committee called the GOP win in a traditionally Democratic district a "referendum on the failed policies of President Obama." Norah O'Donnell reports on the White House's reaction to the upset victory.
WH reacts to GOP house win

As the economy continues to sputter, some are questioning President Obama's re-election chances. But the president on Thursday insisted, "The odds of me being re-elected are much higher than the odds of me being elected in the first place."

The president acknowledged his supporters' concerns at a high-ticket Democratic fundraiser Thursday night, hosted by Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, the former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.

"But we remain very confident about our ability to win a contest of ideas in 2012 -- as long as we can get the message out," Mr. Obama said.

The president said voters in 2012 will understand that the current economic climate stems in large part from long-term problems, like the structural deficit and shortcomings in education and energy policy.

"I think, an innate sense among the American people that things aren't fair, that the deck is stacked against them," he said, "that no matter how hard they work, their costs keep on going up, their hours are longer, they're struggling to make their mortgage, and somehow nobody's paying attention."

CBSNews.com special report: Election 2012

In some ways the 2012 election will be "more clarifying," the president said, "because if you see the direction that the Republican Party is now going in, you have a party that offers a fundamentally different vision of where America should be... And that contest is going to, I think, help shape America for not just the next five years, but for decades to come."

Speculation about Mr. Obama's 2012 prospects heightened this week when Republicans won a special election in the heavily-Democratic New York City district formerly represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner. Republicans insist the election was a clear referendum on the president's policies and the direction of the country.

Democratic strategist James Carville wrote in a CNN op-ed this week that his advice to Mr. Obama at this point would be to "panic."

"We are far past sending out talking points. Do not attempt to dumb it down. We cannot stand any more explanations," Carville said. "This is what I would say to President Barack Obama: The time has come to demand a plan of action that requires a complete change from the direction you are headed."