In a closely watched "60 Minutes" appearance, President Obama called last week's election a referendum on the economy — not his policies. (Watch an excerpt of the interview below.) Obama did say his own communication problems were partly to blame for Americans' dissatisfaction, and for the "shellacking" Democrats took in the midterms. But some observers were unimpressed with Obama's take on the public's mood. Here's what three commentators had to say:
Obama just sounded defeated: The president sure sounded "uninspiring," says Adam Hanft at Salon. He needs to find some middle ground between the uplifting, campaign-trail Obama and the "contrite, emotionally-neutered, humble Obama we saw" on "60 Minutes." If he "can't find a consistent voice," the president is in big trouble.
"Was that '60 Minutes' or a job performance review?"
Messaging is hardly the problem: "It’s hard to imagine," says Glynnis MacNicol at Mediaite, "how a President praised for his great oratorical skills during the campaign," and one has appeared in the media "more than any other president in history," can have failed in his messaging. Obama may be underestimating his problems a bit.
"George Will: Dems mistakenly think problem is messaging not policies"
In fact, communication is the least of Obama's problems: Obama thinks more Americans would embrace his policies if they only understood them, says Mark Hemingway at the San Francisco Examiner, but that is a "terrible excuse" for his dwindling popularity. Blaming communication problems for a bad day at the polls is "a convenient way to avoid confronting the possibility that people do understand your policies and don't like them."
"Obama stays on message about his messaging problem"