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'More difficult than Obama thought'

'More difficult than Obama thought'
By Euronews
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Paul McDowell, euronews:
“Let’s reflect now on some words from Barack Obama’s victory speech in Chicago four years ago. I am joined by ABC News Correspondent Karen Travers, who has been on the campaign trail with the president.

“Karen that night Obama said: ‘Because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.’ Great rhetoric, but what is the main area of change he has brought to his presidency?”

Karen Travers:
“The president says that he came in, he ushered in a new era of transparency, and many of his critics will say he has not done that. The White House will also say that some of the policies that they put into place right away, things that he promised on the campaign trail, are part of that change message. He always – when he’s at these campaign events, when he does stump speeches – will talk about the efforts that they have made on gay rights. That’s one of the big ones that say is a very big difference from previous presidents. Of course, the healthcare law is one of the biggest things that the president will also mention.”

“Of course, he also eyeballed the Americans, saying to them ‘I will listen to you’. To what extent has he been a listening President – in the political arena, to Congress, to his party and probably crucially to his political opponents?”

“And also to the voters, and that’s one thing that President Obama said that maybe he hasn’t done as good as job as he could have over the last four years. The president is often asked: ‘What is your biggest regret?’ And he says it’s been a failure to communicate, a failure to communicate his policies, a failure to communicate his accomplishments. And that gets to what you were asking about: listening, but also engaging with voters, and of course Capitol Hill.”

“Just a brief look at his economic policies. He had a boost in September with those good unemployment figures, a shot in the arm if you like. Was that a sign at all that his economic policy was starting to work?”

“A bit of that, but also the fact that they say the economy has just had a natural improvement over the last couple of years, that things have gotten better, they say that businesses are more willing to hire people, they are more willing to invest, whereas before they had been a little more cautious, sitting on the sidelines, because of concerns about the general trends of the economy.

“Now the president will say: ‘Look, we have gotten the unemployment rate down below where it was when I first came into office but it is still not good enough, and the reason for that is we haven’t passed the job plan I want.’ He says he has put forward an agenda in order to do that but just hasn’t been able to reach any agreement on Capitol Hill.”

“Karen, four years ago a young inexperienced African American man stood before the American public as their 44th president. He was a symbol of hope – has it worked?”

“Well, I think we will probably find the answer to that on election night, voters have to decide whether or it worked but that is one of the president’s biggest challenges on the campaign trail. His speech at the convention down in Charlotte just a couple of weeks ago was all about optimism for the future. He had to talk about how things are gonna get better because, frankly, people have been upset by how things have been over the past four years. They felt that the president had come in with so much promise, so much hope, and that he had really laid out an agenda, but he turned out to have more difficulty accomplishing that than maybe they had expected.”

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