WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama admitted in an interview aired Friday that he focused on policies but failed to rally people behind those initiatives, leading to Republicans' big gains in congressional elections this week.
"We were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn't just legislation," Obama said in an excerpt from a CBS "60 Minutes" interview to be broadcast Sunday.
Republicans describe their Tuesday midterm elections win, in which they took control of the House and gained seats in the Senate, as a repudiation of the healthcare reform law and economic stimulus programs that dominated Obama's first two years in office.
But the president told CBS he would seek to mend his ways in the run-up to his own re-election campaign in 2012.
"It's a matter of persuading people, and giving them confidence, and bringing them together, and setting a tone and making an argument that people can understand," Obama said.
"We haven't always been successful at that and I take personal responsibility for that. And it's something that I've got to examine carefully as I go forward."
Obama said he didn't do a good enough job explaining the need for government spending on bank and auto bailouts and the economic stimulus package.
"People looked at that and they said, "Boy, this feels as if there's a huge expansion of government," Obama said.
"What I didn't effectively, I think, drive home, because we were in such a rush to get this stuff done, is that we were ... taking these steps not because of some theory that we wanted to expand government. It was because we had an emergency situation and we wanted to make sure the economy didn't go off a cliff."
Obama at a news conference Wednesday said he had lost touch with voters who delivered a "shellacking" to him and his Democrats.
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