Oct. 18, 2011— -- The following is a transcript from ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper's exclusive interview with President Obama on the economy and his overall performance for "Nightline" in Jamestown, N.C.
ABC News' Jake Tapper: Well, you're in a good mood right now, but on the trail you seemed a little... there's a little edge. There's a little tone of frustration and one of your friends told me that you are deeply frustrated and worried about the economy. You know, you swim in this economic data. How concerned are you and how worried should people be that we might be that we might be heading into a double dip?
President Obama: Even if we don't go into a double dip, what I feel is what the American people feel, which is that we have now gone through not only two-and-a-half, three years of post recession blues where housing crashed. People have lost the value of their homes, they've lost their jobs, all the struggles and strains that people are going through every day, but even before the crisis the hit, for a decade, people have seen their wages flat line, their incomes flat line.
So, yes, there is an enormous sense on my part that not only do we have to solve the immediate problems that the economy faces, but we've got to get this economy on a stronger foundation. If you hear a sense of urgency in my voice, it's because these problems are solvable, but you don't get a sense that we're moving in Washington with a sense of urgency that is required.
Tapper: Are you worried?
Obama: I'm not worried in the sense that I don't think we can solve these problems. The jobs plan that I put forward, we know that it will grow the economy by as much as 2 percent. We know that it could add as many as 1.9 million jobs. We can put teachers back in the classroom. We can put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools. We know that would work. I'm not worried about the long term prospects of this economy because we still have the best universities in the world, the best workers in the world.
We've got the best entrepreneurs and the best market system in the world, but I am concerned that right now, things in Washington are broken. It seems as if too many folks are willing to put politics ahead of what is required and making the tough choices whether that's reducing deficit, whether it's putting people back to work, whether it's making investments that are necessary for us to become competitive, you don't get a sense of people all pulling together in the same direction. And that's what's going to be required to some very significant challenges.