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Obama: 8 percent unemployment possible by election

President Obama said he thinks an 8 percent unemployment rate is possible by the time the 2012 elections roll around.

Obama, who has been battling for months with congressional Republicans over implementation of his $447 billion jobs plan, said he isn't in the habit of "prognosticating on the economy," according to his "60 Minutes" interview set to broadcast Sunday evening. 

"I'm in the job of putting in place the tools that allow the economy to thrive and Americans to succeed."

The economy created 120,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent, its lowest level in two and half years, 

Obama described himself of the "captain" of his team who are trying to steer a ship through tumultuous waters. 

As long as the nation's economic recovery remains sluggish and jobs scarce, Obama said he understands that Americans are going to say he isn't doing a good job he is to blame. 

"A good captain would have had us in some smooth waters and sunny skies, at this point," he said in response to comments about his job performance. "What I can control are the policies we're putting in place to make a difference in people's lives."

The president had a 43 percent approval rating in November, according to Gallup's polling.

Still, Obama said he didn't over-promise results or underestimate how tough it would be to lead the nation into a more robust economic period calling the challenge a "long-term project" and could take beyond his time in the presidency. 

"For individual Americans, who are struggling right now, they have every reason to be impatient," he said.

"Reversing structural problems in our economy that have been building up for two decades, that was going to take time," he said.

"It was going to take more than a year. It was going to take more than two years. It was going to take more than one term. Probably takes more than one president."