Transcript: Diane Sawyer Interviews Obama

Now I think it's my responsibility and I'll be speaking to this at the State of the Union, to own up to the fact that the process didn't run the way I ideally would like it to and that we have to move forward in a way that recaptures that sense of opening things up more.

SAWYER: A lot of people think you must say at the end of the day, this is not who I was in 2008, these deals with Nebraska, with Florida...

OBAMA: Let's hold on a second, Diane. I mean, I think that this gets into a big mush. So let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals. There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked. So that's point number one.

Number two is that I think it is important to know that the promises we made about increased transparency, we've executed here in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I mean, this is the first White House in history where you know anybody who has walked into my office, anybody who has walked into the White House, you actually have a record of who comes in. We have put more stuff on the Internet than ever.

15:16

We've eliminated lobbyists from all the boards and commissions that historically, you know, they dominated in this town. So it's not that we haven't made significant progress, but we haven't changed it as much as we needed to.

Now, in terms of the health care bill, the product of making sure that we got historic insurance reforms that people have been fighting for years so that insurance companies can't take advantage of people, making sure that we're bending the cost curve, and -- and actually starting to reduce health care inflation in this country, which is a huge problem, making sure that 30 million people have access to health insurance, making sure that small businesses have tax credits -- it's important that people look at the core elements of what both the House and the Senate passed.

And every health economist out there, who's serious about this stuff, will tell you it's a vast improvement over the status quo. It doesn't -- that doesn't excuse the stray cats and dogs that found their way into legislation. It is point out that as we move forward, we've got to make sure that we're focused on what is actually helping the American people deal with what is a very serious problem.

SAWYER: A personal question, if I can, because a lot of people heard you in the Baptist church say sometimes in these buzz saw bruising seasons...

Watch Diane Sawyer's interview with President Obama on "World News" at 6:30 p.m. ET tonight, on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m., and on "Good Morning America" at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

OBAMA: Right.

SAWYER: ... you sit and confront your own doubts...

OBAMA: Yes.

SAWYER: ... somebody who is close to the administration that asked the question, I was wrong about -- personally -- personally wrong about fill in the noun...

OBAMA: Well, you know, I -- I'd say I probably make a mistake a day, maybe two. But -- but I think in terms of over the course of the year, as I said before, we've been so focused on just getting things done that I think that we stopped giving voice to the frustrations that people have about the process here in Washington.

SAWYER: You talked about...

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