President Obama, whose skills as an orator are credited with helping him win the presidency in 2008, said in an interview Thursday that he has failed in office to communicate effectively with the public.
In an interview with Charlie Rose of CBS, Mr. Obama said “the mistake of my first term — couple of years — was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right.”
“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,” Mr. Obama said in an excerpt released by the network.
“It’s funny — when I ran, everybody said, ‘Well, he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?’ ” Mr. Obama said. “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.”
Prodded by Mr. Rose to describe what he needed to explain better to the American people, Mr. Obama said he wanted to do more “explaining, but also inspiring.”
Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said in a statement that “being president is not about telling stories.”
“President Obama believes that millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs and their livelihood because he failed to tell a good story,” Mr. Romney said. “Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead. No wonder Americans are losing faith in his presidency.”