Obama blames defeats on lost 'PR battle'
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President Obama is chalking up some of the biggest defeats of his presidency to the fact he lost to Republicans in the fight for public opinion.
 
“Part of the job description is also shaping public opinion,” Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday on CBS News. “And there were times during my presidency where I lost the PR battle.”
 
The president told “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft that that’s one major reason his last Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, never received a hearing or a confirmation vote. 
 
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“I was very effective in shaping public opinion around my campaigns,” he said. “But there were big stretches, while governing, where even though we were doing the right thing, we weren't able to mobilize public opinion firmly enough behind us to weaken the resolve of the Republicans to stop opposing us or to cooperate with us.”
 
Obama nominated Garland, the longtime judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, last spring to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. 
 
But Republicans in the Senate refused to take up his nomination, arguing the seat should be left open for the winner of the 2016 presidential election to fill. 
 
Obama has frequently blamed messaging, instead of policies or ideas themselves, for defeats during his time in office.
 
Responding to people who were angry about having to change their health insurance plans, the president instead said the failure to communicate properly was the main reason his signature healthcare law is unpopular. 
 
“We weren't as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place," he said in a 2013 interview with NBC News.