During an interview with CBS's Charlie Rose that aired on Monday morning, President Obama said his proudest achievement over the past three and a half years is stabilizing the economy, not his signature health care reform law.
“My proudest achievement is actually stabilizing the economy to avert a great depression, because if I don’t do that nothing else matters,” Obama said. “And the central question becomes building on what we've done. Where do we go from here?”
The president added that the biggest mistake of his first term was thinking the job was just about getting the policy right. In his second term, he said, he needs to do a better job of explaining his policies and inspiring the American people.
“That’s important,” Obama said about enacting good policy. “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.”
But the president said that he was disappointed with the lack of bipartisan cooperation in government during his first term.
“Because I knew the hunger that the American people had for that kind of cooperation and the fact that we were going through as tough of a crisis as we've seen since the Great Depression, my expectation was that we would see more cooperation,” Obama said.
Still, Obama added that he has faith in the power to break the “fever” in Washington, noting that November's election presents a clear distinction between candidates.
“I do think that the American people are the ultimate tie-breaker," he said.