Obama: Hold me accountable for high unemployment

President Obama said in an interview Friday that voters should hold him accountable for the struggling economy, but that his policies are restoring it to health. 

Obama welcomed voters to judge his administration’s work on the economy as the November midterm elections approach. The economy and jobs consistently poll as the number one issue for voters. 

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“If somebody’s out of work right now, the only answer that I’m going to have for them is when they get a job. Up until that point, from their perspective, the economic policies aren’t working well enough,” he said in an interview with NBC News. “That’s my job — as president — is to take responsibility for moving us in the right direction.”

Though polls show that the voters are worried about the state of the economy and high unemployment, Obama used the interview to express confidence about his policies and contrast them with Republican ideas. 

Obama said he is responsible for instilling the recovery, but stressed that policies enacted by previous GOP-controlled Republicans and former President George W. Bush left the economy in a recession.

“What I’m absolutely convinced of is that we’re going to have a choice, not just in November but for years to come,” he said. “We can go back to all the same policies that got us into this mess, where we basically provide special interest loopholes, we don’t regulate Wall Street, we have a healthcare system that’s out of control, we provide tax cuts to folks who don’t need them and weren’t asking for them.”

Democrats are stepping up efforts to draw a sharp contrast between themselves and the Republicans as they head into a challengeing election. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stirred up his own party this week when he acknowledged a GOP takeover of Congress was possible.

Asked about Gibbs’s comments, Obama said: “This is going to be a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and my policies that are getting us out of this mess.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded on Twitter "POTUS on NBC News: 'I expect to be held accountable on jobs'; Where are the jobs?"

With unemployment still hovering at 9.5 percent, Obama said he would not be surprised if there is a backlash at the polls.

“What I’m prepared is to be held accountable for the policies that I put in place. But Americans don’t have selective memory here. They’re going to remember the policies that got us into this mess, as well. And they sure as heck don’t want to go back to those.”