President Obama said Sunday that he deserves to be reelected because his administration has made progress on the economy, but he acknowledged there is much more work to do.
Lauer had asked Obama about an interview they did before the 2009 Super Bowl, when Obama had said that if the economy was not fixed in three years he did not deserve another term.
“When you and I sat down, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. . . now we’re creating 250,000 jobs,” Obama said, referring to Friday’s jobs report which showed unemployment falling from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent. “We’ve made progress. The key now is to make sure we don’t start turning in the wrong direction.”
Obama also addressed escalating concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, after Israeli leaders warned last week of possible airstrikes against Iranian nuclear sites.
Obama said he does not believe Israel “has made a decision on” taking military action to stop the Iranian threat.
“They, like us, believe Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program,”Obama said.
He defended his administration’s approach of applying pressure through multilateral economic sanctions, saying Iran is “feeling the pinch.”
As he has said before, Obama said all options remain on the table, but he added that “obviously any additional military activities inside the Gulf would be disruptive. Our preferred solution is diplomatic. We will do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race in that volatile region.”
During a lighter moment in the interview, Obama declined repeatedly to predict who would win the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and New York Giants.
Lauer noted that when New England won the Super Bowl in 2004, incumbent president George W. Bush was re-elected, but when the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl in 2008, Obama won the White House.
Obama still wouldn’t bite. “I’m just looking for a good game,” he said with a chuckle.