OBAMA: Well, I think that happened the day I was sworn in. The -- look, look, you know, when you're president of the United States, you're responsible. You -- you inherit stuff. In -- in our case, we inherited, obviously, the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. And we have taken a number of steps so that rather than losing 750,000 jobs a month, we're gaining jobs; rather than contracting at 6 percent a year, we're -- the economy is growing again.
But the hole that was dug was very deep. When you lose eight million jobs, you're not going to recover those jobs quickly. When companies were so fearful that they had to pull back that drastically, that creates a negative cycle that reversing is hard. And I think that we are on the right path. We're moving in the right direction. But it's hard and people are going to be impatient, understandably, because if you don't have a job right now or if you are trying to figure out how to pay the bills or if your 401(k) has recovered 60 percent, but it's still not what you expected and you're about to retire, you know, even if you hear the president say we're on the right track and we've improved, you're -- you're still going to be frustrated about how slow the progress is.
And so I am completely understanding of that. And that's why what I've tried to do is simply make the best choices for the American people each and every day. I wake up and I say to myself, what can I do today that's going to help ordinary, hardworking Americans get back on their feet and how can we make sure that this economy is growing and moving so that our kids have opportunity?
Some of that involves looking at the long-term. And even as we have been taking emergency measures to rescue the economy from financial meltdown or a great depression, what we have done is said what are some of the systemic issues that we have to deal with?
Health care was one of them. It's a huge drag on our economy. You've talked about this. It -- it's an unsustainable burden on families and businesses and on government budgets. And we had to change it. And it's a long process, but we've got to do it.
Some things that we're doing on education nobody talks about much because it hasn't been as controversial, but the payoffs will come 10 years from now or 15 years from now, when I'm not president and nobody is worrying about my poll numbers. But the fact that we have elevated reform, made college more affordable, all those things are going to help make America more competitive over the long-term. And -- and that's how I judge myself and hopefully I -- that's how I'll ultimately be judged.
In -- in -- in the meantime, you know, it's just political reporting and -- and so I don't spend too much time worrying about it.
LEAMY: Thank you.
OBAMA: Thank you so much.
LEAMY: Thank you.
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