Obama reflects on first term: Mistake to put policy before story of hope, change

Reflecting on his first term in office Thursday, President Obama said the biggest gaffe he’s made was in putting policy before giving Americans a sense of “unity and purpose and optimism.”

In an interview with CBS news, Obama, sitting alongside first lady Michelle Obama, opened up about the highs and lows of their time at the White House in a wide-ranging interview.

{mosads}”When I think about what we’ve done well and what we haven’t done well, the mistake of my first term — couple of years — was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right,” Obama said. “And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

Obama acknowledged that he could have been better at “explaining” matters, but also “inspiring” the American people.

“It’s funny — when I ran, everybody said, ‘Well, he can give a good speech, but can he actually manage the job?’ ” Obama continued. “And in my first two years, I think the notion was, ‘Well, he’s been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where’s the story that tells us where he’s going?’ And I think that was a legitimate criticism.”

He told CBS anchor Charlie Rose that he believes “hope is still there.”

Mitt Romney blasted Obama’s statement, saying “being president is not about telling stories.”

“President Obama believes that millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs and their livelihood because he failed to tell a good story. Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead. No wonder Americans are losing faith in his presidency,” Romney said in a statement.

— This post was updated at 6:08 p.m.

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