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Obama's mistake in first term; not enough storytelling

July 13, 2012 15:53 IST

The United States President Barack Obama has acknowledged that the biggest mistake of his first term was not being a good enough storyteller, saying he needed to better communicate to the American people about his policies to foster "a sense of unity and purpose and optimism."

"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. 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 told CBS News in an interview.

As he heads into another election this year, Obama discussed the failures and successes of his administration.

"It's funny - when I ran, everybody said, well he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?" he said in the interview, which will be aired in full on Sunday and Monday.

"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."

Pressed about what he felt he needed to explain better to the American people, the president, who gave the interview from the White Houses Blue Room with his wife Michelle sitting by his side, said that he wanted to do more "explaining, but also inspiring."

"Because hope is still there," Michelle Obama added.

The president said he plans to spend more time outside of Washington with the American people, "listening to them and also then being in a conversation with them about where we go as a country. I need to do a better job of that in my second term."

Responding to his comments, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney issued a statement saying that "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."

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