Obama Again Rates Himself ‘Incomplete’ on Economy

Sep 4, 2012 8:42am
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President Barack Obama waves to supporters after speaking a campaign event at Scott High School, Sept. 3, 2012, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

With 63 days to go to the election, President Obama says he still deserves an “incomplete” – rather than a letter grade – when asked to rate his performance on fixing the economy.

“You know, I would say incomplete,” Obama said in an interview with Boulder, Colo., TV station KKTV.

“But what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term,” he said. “One big piece of business that we still have to do is make sure our debts and deficits are brought under control, and I’ve put forward a balanced plan that would reduce our deficits by $4 trillion.”

It’s not the first time Obama has rated himself “incomplete” when asked about his first-term economic performance. But the latest assessment provides fresh fodder for Republican attacks at the start of the Democratic National Convention.

The interview excerpt has already been circulated by the RNC and Romney campaign as what they see as an acknowledgment of Obama’s ineffectiveness.

In May, Obama told the ladies of ABC’s “The View” that his record on the economy is still in progress. “It’s still incomplete,” he said. “We’ve still got work to do.”

The president also told ABC’s Jake Tapper the same thing during an October 2011 interview:

“Well, you know I’m not going to give myself a grade other than “incomplete” because the work that we started is not yet done,” Obama told Tapper.

“But the fact is that the American people are rightly frustrated over what they see as a system in which responsibility is not always rewarded, where people who have done the right thing all their lives still seem to be struggling, that sense that the American dream is slipping away. I think that is something that helped get me elected but it hasn’t been entirely solved yet, and in some ways it’s gotten tougher for folks because of the financial crisis.”

But with just about two months until election day, is “incomplete” good enough to sell voters on another four years of President Obama? During an ABC News / Yahoo roundtable with campaign staffers at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, “Does that answer cut it? An incomplete after a full term?”

“Yeah, it does,” she argued. “Because, you know, once again I’ll remind you of what life was like when he took office. 800,000 jobs were lost in that month alone. 3.5 million in the 6 months prior. And, you know, pretty quickly he was able to turn job loss into job growth. But when he’s saying incomplete, it means a number of different things. One: we’re on a path forward. You know, we’re on our way up. And there is a lot more that he wants to get done. He’s not done yet.”

 

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