Transcript: Gibson Interviews Barack Obama

And what we need to do is gather them together and say, you know what, we need a set of institutions that can help coordinate interest rates, can help coordinate some of these other issues so that we don't have these global crises that spiral out of control and no single government ends up being able to stem the tide that's coming out.

GIBSON: One woman last night stood up and asked you at the debate why should we trust either one of you with our money.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: Which was an interesting question. It bespoke a sort of lack of faith in any kind of institution, a systemic breakdown that is indicative of fear.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: How do you counter that?

OBAMA: You know, you have to deliver. And so I'm not sure that you're going to be able to entirely counter that prior to the election. I think people are right to be cynical.

Look, we -- we just went through eight years in which the economy was growing. People were working hard, remember. American worker productivity had never been higher and yet people's wages and incomes had gone down. We have a half trillion dollar deficit, and we've added several trillion dollars to the national debt.

I think it's not surprising that people say, OK, I'm working maybe two jobs. I'm not seeing my kids enough. I haven't bought a new car or gone out to dinner in several years. And yet I still don't have anything to save. I still am seeing my paycheck buy less and less. I still can't heat my home in the winter the way I need to.

And so what we're going to have to do, I think, is to -- the next president is going to have to be straight with the American people and say, we've got some big challenges. It's not going to be easy. We're not going to dig ourselves out of this situation overnight. But if we make a series of smart steps, if we're willing to prioritize, if we're willing to stop doing things that we don't need to do and just focus on the things that we have to do in order to get this economy right -- and that includes making some tough budgets choices -- then I have no doubt that America's going to be strong once again.

But it's going to require that kind of honesty with the American people and the ability to inspire the American people to remind them of what is great about this country. And that's something that we haven't heard a lot over the last several years.

GIBSON: The kids at Bowling Green, I watched the debate with them last night.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And other kids that we talked to during the day. They said they're not talking about our issues.

OBAMA: Student loans.

GIBSON: Right. They're not -- they don't believe the money's going to be there to pay for their loans to get them through four years of college. And then on top of that, I said to them, well, if you don't have any faith in that, how many of you believe Social Security will be there when you get to be 65. Twenty-one kids, three held up their hand.


GIBSON: That, again, is a -- is a great doubt of faith in the system.

OBAMA: Although here's what I'll say. I mean, first of all, we've been talking about student loans probably every day during course of this campaign. I mean, I've got a very specific plan to make sure that students are able to afford to go to college in exchange for community service or military service.

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