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Obama: Romney not necessarily qualified to think about "economy as a whole"

(CBS News) President Barack Obama has questioned presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's economic credentials, saying that while his tenure at private equity firm Bain Capital doesn't "disqualify" him from running for president, it won't necessarily translate into job growth for Americans.

"CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose sat down Thursday with the president and first lady Michelle Obama in the blue room of the White House for a wide-ranging and exclusive interview.

"When some people question why I would challenge his Bain record, the point I've made there in the past is, if you're a head of a large private equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money," Mr. Obama said. "It's not to create jobs. It's not even to create a successful business - it's to make sure that you're maximizing returns for your investor. Now that's appropriate. That's part of the American way. That's part of the system. But that doesn't necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole, because as president, my job is to think about the workers. My job is to think about communities, where jobs have been outsourced."

Mr. Obama also spoke about what he thinks is the biggest mistake of his first term: putting policy ahead of presenting a clear explanation of his plans to the American people. Rose's full report will air on "CBS Sunday Morning" this weekend, with more on Monday's "CTM."

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Rose asked Mr. Obama for his take on Romney's qualifications to lead the country: "Do you believe his presidency would be a disaster? Because this is a man who's been a successful businessperson. Does that disqualify him or make him appropriately a candidate for a political office? How do you take the measure of his business experience?"

Mr. Obama said, "I do not think at all it disqualifies him. But I also think it's important if that's his main calling card, if his basic premise is that, 'I'm Mr. Fix-It on the economy, because I made a lot of money.'"

Rose said, "But that's not what he's saying."

"Well, no, that is to - to some degree," Mr. Obama said. "What he says is he understands the economy and the private sector."

Rose said, "And they built businesses and they bought businesses and made them better."

"Well, they invested - they invested," said Mr. Obama said. "So that's his premise. I think it is entirely appropriate to look at that record and see whether, in fact, his focus was creating jobs and he successfully did that. And when you look at the record, there are questions there that have to be asked."

Mr. Obama suggested that the Romney campaign still has work to do in explaining what the presumptive GOP nominee's "theory is about how to grow the economy."

"This is the nature of running for president," added Mr. Obama.

Be sure to tune in for Charlie Rose's report on "CBS Sunday Morning" this weekend and more from the interview on "CTM" Monday.

Watch the excerpt from the interview with the Obamas in the video above.

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