INTERVJU | Alla politiker är beroende av att få ut sitt budskap till väljarna. Här skiljer sig inte president Barack Obama från någon annan politiker.
Men en återkommande kritik som riktats mot Obama under hans tid i Vita huset är att han aldrig riktigt har lyckats kommunicera sin politik till det amerikanska folket. Detta i skarp kontrast till hans banbrytande valkampanj 2008.
Inför demokraternas partikonvent ställde Michael Scherer på Time några frågor till Obama om detta och hans syn på skillnaderna melllan honom och Mitt Romney.
You said one of the mistakes you see in the first term was not telling that story better. What does it mean to tell the story better in the next four years?
Well, what I meant by that is that we were in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, so we had to just do stuff fast. And sometimes it wasn’t popular. And we didn’t have the luxury of six months to explain exactly what we were doing with the Recovery Act, which was basically a jobs act and making-sure-middle-class-families-didn’t-fall-into-poverty act.
And there were all kinds of things we could do to have explained that effectively, but we didn’t have time. The auto bailout — now a lot of people are coming around and saying that was the right thing to do. But at the time, I think it polled at 10%. And we didn’t have time to worry about that. We had a million jobs at stake in places like Ohio and Michigan, and we needed to make sure that we acted quickly.
So moving forward, what I want to make sure the American people understand is that investments in education, investments in basic science and research, an all-of-the-above American energy strategy, in making college more affordable, in rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges and our ports and our airports — all those things that help make us grow are compatible with fiscal discipline as long as everybody is doing their fair share.
And that’s a story I’m doing my best to tell during the campaign. That’s a story I will continue to try to tell, if I’m fortunate enough to have a second term, in Inaugurations, in States of the Union. I want to make sure that people understand that I’ve got a focus on growing this economy, not growing the public sector, but doing enough to ensure that we’ve got the best workers in the world, we’ve got the best technology in the world and we’re competitive in the 21st century.
I assume you’ve done a pretty close study of your opponent, Mitt Romney. I know you admire him for his family and for the work he did on health care in Massachusetts. But I wonder if you could point to a couple of other things in his record and things he has accomplished that you actually admire.
Well, you took away a couple.
I did. I took away the two good ones.
He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined. And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private-equity guy. I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church.
But the fundamental difference between Governor Romney and myself, aside from some of our life experiences, I think is really a matter of how do you grow an economy that is strong and healthy over the long term. And when you look at the history of this country, when we’ve done best it’s been when everybody did well — when the middle class was strong, when wages and incomes were keeping up with the cost of living, when the doors of opportunity were widening, when we were giving more people a quality education, when as a country we were willing to make investments in things like science and research that any individual enterprise wouldn’t find profitable. That’s when we do well.
When we do badly is when we have a philosophy in which everybody is on their own and a few people are doing very well, and they amass more and more economic power, political power, and ordinary folks start feeling left behind. That skews not only our economy, but it also skews our politics.
Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är Time den 10 september 2012.