VINEYARD HAVEN, Massachusetts (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Sunday he expects to be judged in the 2012 election over his governance of the American economy, which he said was still not growing fast enough.
“For me to argue, look, we’ve actually made the right decisions, things would have been much worse has we not made those decisions — that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now,” Obama told CBS in an interview taped last week and aired during his annual vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, an island near Boston.
“I understand that and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better,” he said.
The unemployment rate has been stuck above 9 percent and growth was very weak in the first half of 2011, causing many Americans to question whether Obama’s stimulus and bailout measures following the financial crisis worked.
Asked about the past month’s stock market drop, Obama said concerns about the U.S. recovery were contributing to investor jitters, along with “headwinds” from Europe’s debt crisis, high gas prices and knock-on effects from Japan’s earthquake.
In excerpts of the CBS interview aired last week, Obama said he did not see a danger of another recession, but thought there was danger of having a recovery that is not fast enough to deal with “a genuine unemployment crisis.”
Obama is expected to spend much of his nine-day vacation working on a program meant to jump-start the economy and find budget savings that surpass the $1.5 trillion goal of a new congressional deficit-cutting committee.
Extending a payroll tax cut — a measure the White House has said would encourage business to increase hiring but that economists say is likely to make little difference — will be included in the program that Obama will unveil next month, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said on Sunday.
“That is absolutely something we need to do,” Axelrod told CNN’s “State of the Union” program. Axelrod added that some “modest adjustments” to government-run entitlement programs would have to be made and that Obama would address that issue in a speech outlining the program.
Reporting by Laura MacInnis and Alister Bull; Editing by Paul Simao