Transcript: Barbara Walters Interviews the Obamas


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Oh, I appreciate that. Well, first of all, I am not so unpopular. I mean, my…poll numbers are a little higher than Bill Clinton's were at this point in the presidency, or Ronald Reagan's were at this point in his presidency. And, we have gone through a really tough time. And so, no matter how much good stuff we have done, people still are looking at 9.6 percent unemployment and that's frustrating for people. And I don't make any excuses.

BARBARA WALTERS: Because you took what you called a shellacking, will you make specific changes in your policies…


BARBARA WALTERS: …or your personal, your personality I guess is what I am getting at. What were the changes?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: First of all, I think that -- no matter what happened in the election -- the first two years were all about saving the economy from a crisis, and we have done that. The economy has now stabilized. …We have gotten the economy to grow again, our focus now has to be on issues like education, issues like investing in research and development, issues like infrastructure development…. So my hope is is that new Republican leadership -- those who are coming in -- that they welcome the opportunity to work together…with me and other Democrats…to focus on solving the country's problems instead of focusing on politics. And, and I am confident that we are gonna be able to do that.

BARBARA WALTERS: Mr. President, the Republicans, many of them have said that what they want most is to make sure you only have one term. So what areas do you think they're going to be willing to compromise?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We've actually taken a whole series of steps to reform the education system, that are unprecedented, and have gotten compliments from Republicans, including people like Newt Gingrich. So, that's one area where I think we can make a difference right away…We're going to have to do something about the deficit and the debt. And the problem is that historically, at least lately, there's been a lot of rhetoric on all sides that, that pretends that somehow we can have something for nothing. That we can, you know, fund all our important programs, maintain our safety net, make sure social security and Medicare are safe, have, you know, a defense department that gets everything that it wants, and we don't end up having to pay for it. And that's going to be an area where I think we've got to have an honest conversation. …I'm looking forward to Republicans, and Democrats, working together to actually solve the problem, instead of trying to score political points.

BARBARA WALTERS: Many people this Thanksgiving are unemployed as you know, almost 10 percent. Some of them can't even afford a turkey. What do they have to be thankful for? What can they hope for?

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