"Absolutely," Obama said in interviews to ABC News and Yahoo.com when asked whether he is an underdog for re-election. "I don't mind. I used to being an underdog. I think that at the end of the day, though, what people are going to say is, who's got a vision for the future that can actually help ordinary families recapture that American dream?" Obama said.
As recently as the week that ended on September 18, only 68 per cent of liberals told Gallup they approved of the way Obama was handling his job as president.
"When I ran in 2008, the basic idea was that ordinary folks who are working hard doing everything right, just weren't getting ahead. Wages, incomes had flatlined. Costs were going up -- everything from health care to college education," he noted.
"The whole approach of everything I've tried to do over the last three years is to say, what are those big changes that we have to make so that our kids are getting the best education, we've got the best infrastructure in the world, we've got the tools that allow us to succeed again," he said.
The president also admitted that Americans were "not better off" now than they were four years ago.
Obama said he hasn't decided yet what would be his slogan for the 2012 elections. In 2008 polls, it was 'Yes You Can.' "I haven't quite boiled it down to a bumper sticker yet, but I think what'll define 2012 is our vision for the future. There is going to be a contest of values and vision in 2012.
Nobody's going to deny that we're not where we need to be, that the economy is not producing enough jobs that pay well and give people a leg up on life. And so the question is, what's most likely to get there," he asked.
"Now, there are going to be some folks who make the argument that if you just slash spending, eliminate regulations that prevent us from polluting our air, polluting our water or, you know, we bust labor unions, that that in and of itself is going to restore the American dream," Obama said.
"I don't think most Americans believe that. I think they understand that we've got to invest in making sure we got the best education system possible; that we've got to invest in basic research; that part of what made us an economic superpower was we had the best technology, the best infrastructure, and that government has some role to play in that. And so the question's going to be, you know, which vision is more persuasive to the American people?" he said.
"There is going to be a contest of values and vision in 2012. Nobody is going to deny that we are not where we need to be," he said, referring to the economy and high unemployment.