Obama: My Biggest Mistake Was Failure to 'Tell a Story'

President says he focused on policy at the expense of inspiration: CBS video

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 12, 2012 6:52 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama's biggest mistake in his first term? Republicans probably have a quick answer involving the words "health care," but Obama himself got a little abstract about the subject in an interview with Charlie Rose of CBS:

  • "When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well, the mistake of my first term—couple of years—was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."

  • "It's funny—when I ran, everybody said, 'Well he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?' And in my first two years, I think the notion was, 'Well, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where's the story that tells us where he's going?' And I think that was a legitimate criticism."
  • When Rose asked him whether he meant he needed to explain himself better, Obama replied, "explaining, but also inspiring."
  • Mitt Romney: In a quick response spotted by the Weekly Standard, he says the presidency isn't "about telling stories," it's "about leading."

In this July 10, 2012, file photo, President Obama pauses while speaking at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
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An excerpt of the president's interview.   (CBS News)

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