Obama: White House forgot that 'leadership isn't just legislation'

President Obama said Friday his administration had lost focus of the fact that "leadership isn't just legislation," suggesting he could have done a better job of connecting with voters.


Obama conceded his White House had sometimes lost touch with those who elected him in 2008 and had fallen short in its efforts to persuade them on the steps he took in the past two years to resuscitate the economy and reform healthcare and Wall Street.

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"I think that over the course of two years, we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation," Obama told CBS's "60 Minutes" for an interview to air Sunday.

The interview is Obama's first sit-down with the press since Tuesday's elections, when a GOP wave swept Republicans into the majority in the House. Obama took questions on Wednesday at a White House press conference.

Obama on Wednesday blamed the poorly performing economy for Democrats' losses, arguing that if voters were more satisfied with the pace of job creation, there would have been more support for some of his legislative initiatives — and his party.

Those comments prompted Republicans to pounce. House Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that Obama and Democrats were "in denial" about the message of the election, which GOP leaders say was a repudiation of the president's policies.

But the president stuck to a variation of the argument made before the election by some Democrats, who said the White House needed to do a better job of selling its agenda.

"[I]t’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone. And making an argument that people can understand," Obama told "60 Minutes."

"And I think that we haven’t always been successful at that," the president added. "And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully as I go forward."