JFK famously got his clock cleaned by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at their June 1961 summit meeting in Vienna.
He knew it too. Right after the meeting he confided to NYT columnist Scotty Reston that it was one of the "roughest" moments of his life. "He just beat the hell out of me," Kennedy admitted.
So I asked President Obama if there were any similar moments over the last eight months where he took a step back and told himself: "Man, I need to step up my game."
Here's what he said:
OBAMA: You know, it's an interesting question. I — I mean I don't mean to be immodest here, but I don't think I've had that moment with a — with a world leader, where I said gee, you know — you know, we've got to really tighten things up.
I think there have been times where I have said I've got to step up my game in terms of talking to the American people about issues like health care. I mean I think during this whole health care debate, I've – there have been times where I've said…
STEPHANOPOULOS: You lost control?
OBAMA: Well, not so much lost control, but where I've said to myself, somehow I'm not breaking through. And — and it's not — you know, I know my critics would just say well, it's because you — you know, the plan is just, you know, the — the wrong one.
But it's — it — that's not so much it. It's — this has been a sufficiently tough, complicated issue with so many moving parts that, you know, no matter how much I've — I've tried to keep it digestible, you know, it's very hard for people to get their — their whole arms around it. And that's been a case where I have been humbled and I just keep on trying harder, because I — I really think it's the right thing to do for the country.
Watch it HERE:
- George Stephanopoulos