President Barack Obama acknowledged in an interview on Monday that he is “absolutely” the underdog in the 2012 election, but said he remains confident he can win re-election.
He also told George Stephanopoulos that Republicans have been following an “extreme approach to governance,” and says that despite recent successes, America will always be vulnerable to another terrorist attack.
The president sat down with Stephanopoulos for the interview that streamed live on ABC News and Yahoo! News. Stephanopoulos referred to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll disclosing that 55 percent of Americans now believe Obama will be a one-term president.
Asked by Stephanopoulos if he believes he is now the underdog, Obama responded: “Absolutely. But I don’t mind. I’m used to being an underdog.
“But at the end of the day 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?”
Stephanopoulos noted that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said last week that Obama doesn’t have the courage to lead and called him a “bystander” in the Oval Office and a “divider.”
Obama responded: “If the guy’s thinking of running for president, he’s going to say a lot of stuff. And I think in Republican primaries it’s probably going to poll pretty well.
“I don’t think the American people would dispute that at every step of the way I have done everything I can to try to get the Republican Party to work with me on the biggest crisis of our lifetime, and each time all we’ve gotten from them is no.
“They’ve made a decision to follow what is a pretty extreme approach to governance.”
Matt Towery, a syndicated columnist and CEO of the nonpartisan polling firm Insider/Advantage, told Newsmax that claiming to be the underdog is “probably pretty smart on Obama’s part. He is the underdog. I think he has to understand his fate lies in two different rolls of the dice.
“First, the issue of the economy. If the economy doesn’t improve, his chances of re-election are very slim.
“Two, if the Republicans nominate an electable candidate. He’s banking on the possibility that they won’t choose someone with broad appeal to American voters. But the economy would still have to improve for him win in any case.
“Obama wants to be the underdog. He has no choice. I find his statement the smartest political thing he’s said in months. It’s a smart strategy.
Previously he was on the defensive, in denial about the problems he is facing. Now he realizes he has to go on the offensive and take the aggressive approach of an underdog.”
Following the recent killing of terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, Obama said: “I think we have done more in the last couple of years than at any time in the past 10 years. The entire leadership of al-Qaida has been decimated.”
Asked if terrorists can still plan on attack on our homeland, Obama told Stephanopoulos: “Given the nature of our open society, we will always be vulnerable to a possible terrorist attack. But for them to be able to launch a big effort with major financing is going to be very difficult for them now.
“If we stay on it, it’s going to be very difficult for them to mount the kind of spectacular attacks we saw on 9/11.”
Veteran intelligence expert and Newsmax analyst Fred Fleitz commented: "President Obama took a well-deserved victory lap in his interview with Stephanopoulos on killing Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. The president's CIA drone strategy against these al-Qaida leaders succeeded and probably has seriously undermined al-Qaida and its franchises.
“But the president was right to note that al-Qaida has not yet been defeated and is still dangerous.”
Fleitz, who spent 25 years working with the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the State Department, added:
“If I did this interview, I would have followed up by asking the president what he will do next to address other significant terrorist threats from the Taliban, which attacked the U.S. embassy in Kabul last month, several radical Islamist terrorist groups in Pakistan, and apparent collaboration between Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban to attack U.S. targets in Afghanistan."
Referring to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s statement that he would not support Obama’s jobs bill, the president stated: “What he needs to do is tell us exactly what he’s for. What I think the American people can’t abide by is doing nothing.
“Some are going to make the argument that if you lower taxes and relax regulations, that in and of itself is going to restore the American dream. I don’t think most Americans agree with that.
“We can’t pretend cutting spending is enough.”
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