Obama says no regrets, but admits tactical errors

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 04:15 IST

Obama confessed to the The New York Times that during his first 20 months in office he had probably not focused enough on public relations, which, like it or not, is an all-important part of the job.

"Given how much stuff was coming at us, we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right," he was quoted as saying in a lengthy magazine piece.

With Republicans poised to make big gains in congressional and gubernatorial races in the November 2 elections, Obama and top aides also quoted in the article discussed ways to reboot his stalled presidency.

In a reinvented administration, which aides have dubbed "Obama 2.0," he will make sure he plays more by Washington's rules so that his accomplishments don't get drowned out by the opposition Republicans.

"I think anybody who's occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can't be neglecting of marketing and PR and public opinion," Obama said.

He told the newspaper he had learnt "tactical lessons" after allowing himself to look like "the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat," despite having presented himself as a fresh-scrubbed agent of political change.

Nonetheless, Obama, who took the helm in January 2009 with the United States in the midst of two wars and facing a financial crisis unseen since the Great Depression, said his administration's record had been commendable.

"I keep a checklist of what we committed to doing, and we've probably accomplished 70 per cent of the things that we talked about during the campaign," he said.

Obama, whose administration passed unprecedented stimulus packages to stabilise the American economy, before embarking on significant overhauls of health care, education and financial regulation, lamented that he had allowed Republicans to stall his agenda and control his message.

But, he said, "It would be very hard for people to look back and say, 'You know what, Obama didn't do what he's promised.' I think they could say, 'On a bunch of fronts he still has an incomplete'."

(Published 18 October 2010, 02:12 IST)

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