The Washington Post

Obama criticizes GOP intransigence in ‘60 Minutes’ interview

President Obama acknowledged Sunday that it would take more than one term in office for his administration to change a Washington political culture defined by special interests and hyperpartisanship — and that perhaps things might not shift even if he is reelected.

During a wide-ranging interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Obama blamed Republican intransigence for stymieing his efforts to enact policies to improve the economy, saying he often feels like the captain of a ship in rocky seas who is unable to “control the weather.”

He faulted the GOP for not having “an honest conversation” about the economic policies that caused the nation’s recession and complained that Republicans made a calculated decision to block most of his policies to inflict maximum political damage after he assumed office.

Asked by interviewer Steve Kroft whether he had made too many promises to Americans during his hope-and-change campaign in 2008, Obama insisted that he “always believed that this was a long-term project.”

The president said he knew that “reversing a culture here in Washington dominated by special interests would take more than year, more than two years, more than one term, probably take more than one president.”

But he vowed that he and first lady Michelle Obama have not thought about bowing out after a single term.

“One thing I pride myself on before becoming president and that has continued as president: I’m a persistent son of a gun. I stay at it. I keep staying at it,” he said.

Obama spoke with Kroft briefly after the president’s appearance in Osawatomie, Kan., on Tuesday and sat down with the correspondent for an extended interview on Friday at the White House.

Of his potential 2012 presidential opponents, Obama called former House speaker Newt Gingrich “good on TV and good in debates” and said former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is “good at politics.”

But Obama added that no matter who the nominee is, “the contrast in vision of where I want to take the country and they want to take country is going to be stark.”

Of those who have been disappointed in his performance, Obama said: “I’m being judged against the ideal. . . . Don’t judge me against the Almighty, judge me against the alternative.”


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David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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