Barack Obama photo

Interview on ABC's "The View"

July 28, 2010

[Broadcast Date: July 29, 2010]

Barbara Walters: This is an historic day for "The View." We are honored to welcome the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.

[Cheers, applause.]

The President: Thank you! Thank you! This is fun.

Barbara Walters: Well, we hope so. But you know, you've gone through a little bit of a beating the last month. Do you really think that being on the show with a bunch of women, five women who never shut up, is going to be calming?

The President: Look, I was trying to find a show that Michelle actually watched. [Cheers, applause.] And so I thought that this is it right here, you know?

All those (news ?) shows, she's like, oh, let me get the clicker. [Laughter]

Barbara Walters: Have you ever watched us?

The President: Of course.

Barbara Walters: No kidding.

The President: Of course. Well, this is the second time I've been on now.

Barbara Walters: That's right. That doesn't mean you have to watch it. [Laughter]

Sherri Shepherd: Third time -- third time, President.

Joy Behar: Third time --

The President: This is the third time?

Whoopi Goldberg: You did the book first. I wasn't here, but I heard. You did the book first, and then when you were running, and now, sir, here you are as president of the United States of America. [Cheers, applause.]

Sherri Shepherd: You were -- [inaudible] -- last time you came to "The View." [Cheers, applause.] Yes, very -- [inaudible].

The President: I was explaining that these couches are made for these little people. [Laughter] And so, you know, if you're a little taller, you kind of have to settle in a little bit more.

Barbara Walters: Just settle in.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: You look settled.

Barbara Walters: But do you know, we said that this has been a kind of difficult time for you between the oil and questions of racism and Afghanistan and a few other little things. We understand that you sit at night with your daughters and your wife and you do the rose and the thorn, right? You still do it?

The President: We still do it, although Malia is now at camp, and Sasha is away at a friend's house, so it's just me and Michelle.

Barbara Walters: We'll do it for you. We'll do it for you.

The President: Go ahead.

Barbara Walters: In the last month, what has been the rose, and what has been the thorn?

The President: Well, in the last month, the rose has to be a couple of days we took in Maine with Michelle and Sasha and Malia, and we went on bike rides and hikes. And you know, the girls are getting old enough now where they're not quite teenagers yet, so they still like you. [Laughter] But they're full of opinions and ideas and observations, and it's just a great age. Malia just turned 12 and Sasha just turned 9, and it couldn't have been a better couple of days.

Barbara Walters: Thorn?

The President: Well, where do I begin here? [Laughter] No, look, obviously, the country is going through a tough stretch since I took office. When I was sworn in -- I know you showed the Inauguration -- we were losing at that time 750,000 jobs per month. The economy was shrinking at a pace of about 6.5 percent, which is unheard of since the Great Depression.

So the last 20 months has been a nonstop effort to restart the economy, to stabilize the financial system, to make sure that we're creating jobs again instead of losing them.

And in the midst of all that, we've also had the oil spill, we've also had two wars, we've also had a pandemic, H1N1 that we had to manage, and a whole host of other issues.

What has been gratifying is the fact that the economy now is starting to stabilize and grow again. And what's been satisfying is just seeing how resilient the American people are. As much as -- you said it's been tough for me. The truth is, it's not tough for me. I mean, you know, I've got people, pundits on the news that may say things about me.

Barbara Walters: You noticed. [Laughter]

The President: Of course. But you think about what the American people have gone through, losing jobs, seeing their home values go down, their 401(k)s declining. I mean, those are the folks who I draw inspiration from, because I get letters every night from them, and I read them. And as tough as it's been, they remain hopeful, they remain optimistic about America. So I don't spend a lot of time worrying about me. I spend a lot of time worrying about them.

Barbara Walters: The one thorn, biggest thorn this past month?

The President: Well, you know, the reasons it's hard to answer is, the things that the media may focus on are not necessarily the things I'm focused on.

I have to sign letters to parents of children who have been killed in Afghanistan, or the husbands or wives of people who have been killed in battle. And that gives you a sense of perspective that is just different from what is going on on cable TV on any given day.

Joy Behar: Can I follow up on something? Because, you know, you've really done a lot, I think. I mean, you signed 200-plus laws since you're in office. You have financial reform has taken place. You have got health care, I mean, put two women on the Supreme Court. I could go on and on about your accomplishments. And yet the right wing, through FOX News and other outlets, they seem to be hijacking the narrative.

Where on your side is the narrative? Where is your attack dog to come out and tell the American people, listen, this is what we did?

The President: That's your job. [Laughter, applause]

Joy Behar: Well, I did. I do it!

[Cross talk.]

The President: Let me say this. When times are tough, as they have been, naturally there's going to be a political argument that's going on out there. And you know, I volunteered for this job. Politics is not bean bag; I mean, politics is a contact sport, and you expect people going at you.

The one thing that does frustrate me sometimes is the sense that we shouldn't be campaigning all the time. You know, there is a time to campaign, and then there's a time to govern. And what we've tried to do over the last 20 months is to govern. So on health care or on financial reform -- right now we've got a big debate about how we can get small businesses more credit, because they really generate more jobs than anybody else.

And when you feel as if every single initiative that we're doing is subject to Washington politics instead of, is this good for the country, that can be frustrating.

But having said that, look, there are legitimate differences to be had between the parties. I'm not perfect, my administration's not perfect. And a lot of this criticism, I try to listen to. And if I think it's fair, then we try to correct it.

Now, some of it, I'll grant you, Joy, I tend not to think is fair --

Joy Behar: That's right.

The President: -- Michelle doesn't think any of it's fair. [Laughter]

Joy Behar: No.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: I want to ask you about the country, too. Because you know, seeing you here, it truly is an honor to have you here as the president of the United States. It does seem as though we are a very divided States of America right now on so many issues. And I think even those who did not vote for you felt a hope that there would be a uniting factor when you took office. Are you frustrated that this country still feels so divided and you have not been able yet to bring that unity?

The President: I am. Look, I think that right after the election, there was a sense of hopefulness and unity. I think at the time, people didn't understand how bad the economic crisis was going to be. And as a consequence, I think that, you know, the politics of the economic recovery, the steps we had to take to make sure that the banking system didn't collapse, what we had to do for the auto industry so that that didn't collapse, a lot of those became controversial.

And unfortunately, we live at a time when a lot of times people are thinking about the next election instead of the next generation.

My hope is that I've tried to set a tone in the debate that says, look, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Right.

The President: But the fact of the matter is, is that the media culture right now loves conflict. And if there's a story about cooperation between the two parties, that story doesn't make the news. What makes the news is somebody who says something as outlandish or outrageous as possible. That's what gets focused on. And I think frankly, the American people would rather hear a civil debate, but that's not what they're getting a lot of times.

Sherri Shepherd: Mr. President, we had Shirley Sherrod, who was a USDA official, who was fired over this racially charged clip that was taken out of context. It was posted on a blog. When you took office, I think a lot of people thought that we were going to get beyond race. But it seems like every single day it's something racially charged. Do you think we are still, America is racist?

The President: Look, I think that we have made so much progress. And I had a conversation with Shirley Sherrod, wonderful woman. She's the first one to acknowledge how much progress we've made. I mean, think about her history and what she went through, her father father being murdered and her growing up in the Jim Crow South. And now, she's on the phone talking to the president of the United States. And she had been on the South Lawn for a celebration of federal employees just a couple of weeks earlier. And that is a testament to progress that we have made.

What I do think happened in that situation is that a 24/7 media cycle that's always looking for controversy and oftentimes doesn't get to the facts first, generated a phony controversy. A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration. And part of the lesson that I want everybody to draw is, let's not assume the worst of other people, but let's assume the best. Let's make sure that we get the facts straight before we act.

And when it comes to race, let's acknowledge that, of course, there's still tensions out there. There is still inequalities out there. There is still discrimination out there. But we have made progress. And if each of us take it upon ourselves to treat people with fairness and be able to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes and relate to where they're coming from, that we can make more progress.

And when you look at the next generation -- interesting -- when I talk to Malia and Sasha's friends, they have healthier attitudes around these issues than our generation does. And we have healthier attitudes than previous generations. And that's the progress that we want to keep on making.

Whoopi Goldberg: Well, that's what I want to ask you. Because you remember -- I'm sure you're old enough to remember this movie, but in 1967, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" --

The President: I was only 6, Whoopi. [Laughter]

Whoopi Goldberg: I figured.

Barbara Walters: The rest of us remember it very well.

The President: I do remember the movie. And Sidney Poitier was -- he's smooth.

Whoopi Goldberg: Please, he's the greatest ever. But he says to his father, you think of yourself as a Negro man, and I think of myself as a man, and that's the difference. Is that still relevant today? I ask you, what are we? Who are we?

The President: Well, we are Americans. We share common hopes, we share common dreams. We share common aspirations. We're going through common struggles.

The fact of the matter is, is that everybody here, and I look at this audience, and it's representative of the country, everybody here is connected in some fashion. And our success and our children's success is tied up together. And so I think most Americans feel that way.

But what is still true is, is that, you know, there's still kind of a reptilian side of our brain, right? That part of our brain that if somebody looks different or sounds different, that there's a part of us that is cautious. And what we have to do is fight against that, and that's part of what Shirley Sherrod was trying to say in the speech, if you actually read the whole speech. She was acknowledging, I had my own biases based on my experiences, but if I am able to look inward and reflect, then I can get beyond my biases.

And that's an exercise that all of us have to undergo day in, day out. And it's a constant struggle. And you know, it's something that -- there's nobody in America who doesn't have to, at some point, think about their own racial attitudes --

Barbara Walters: Can I ask you about that?

The President: -- but if we do, then I think there's no reason we can't overcome it.

Barbara Walters: To follow up on Whoopi's question. You do not describe yourself as a black president. But that's the way you're described. Your mother was white. Why -- would it be helpful, or why don't you say, I'm not a black president, I'm biracial?

The President: Well, you know, when I was young and going through the identity crisis that any teenager goes through -- I wrote a book about this.

Barbara Walters: Yes. [Applause.] [Inaudible.] We all read it.

The President: You know, part of what I realized was that if the world saw me as African American, then that wasn't something that I needed to run away from. That's something that I could go ahead and embrace. And the interesting thing about the African-American experience in this country is that we are sort of a mongrel people. I mean, we're all kind of mixed up.

Whoopi Goldberg: Yeah. [Laughter]

The President: Now, that's actually true for white America as well, but we just know more about it. [Laughter] And so I'm less interested in how we label ourselves. I'm more interested in how we treat each other. And if we're treating each other right, then I can be African American, I can be multiracial, I can be you name it. What matters is, am I showing people respect? [Applause.] Am I caring for other people? That's, I think, the message we want to send.

Barbara Walters: Well, if you're not sick of us yet, stick around, and we'll come back.

The President: I'm going to stick around, absolutely.

Barbara Walters: We'll be right back with President Barack Obama. [Cheers, applause.]

The President: Thank you.

[Cheers, applause.]

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: We are glad to be back with President Barack Obama.

Now, let's take care of some business.

The President: Elisabeth, can I just point out? I don't have as much gray hair in that clip. [Laughter]

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: I noticed. I did. I wasn't going to bring it up.

Joy Behar: The presidency ages everyone, I noticed. Everyone is --

Whoopi Goldberg: Yeah, but they say black doesn't crack. [Laughter, applause.]

[Cross talk.]

Barbara Walters: -- turn gray.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: I want to get to something that's really important to so many Americans. You had promised that the stimulus bill would cap unemployment at 8 percent. We're at near 10 percent across the country, 12 percent in my home state of Rhode Island. We are in a state of chronic joblessness. And we heard in the beginning of the show as well, you claim that there's saved jobs, something, a standard that has not been used before by any administration.

It's frustrating to hear that saved-jobs boasting, because it doesn't feel that way to Americans when they don't have jobs and they're losing jobs. How can you continue and your administration continue to say that you are saving jobs when in fact people are losing jobs?

The President: Well, actually, Elisabeth, what's happened is, is that we've gained private sector jobs for the last five months. So we were losing jobs when I was sworn in -- as I said, 750,000 jobs per month -- we've now gained jobs for five consecutive months in the private sector.

You're absolutely right that it's not enough. And if you don't have a job right now, the only answer that you want to hear is "I'm hired."

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Right.

The President: So the frustration the people have is entirely justified. Now, I have to tell you, though, this isn't just my standard, Elisabeth, or my administration's standard. There was a report that came out by a couple of economists just today, including John McCain's former economist, that said that had we not taken the steps that we took, you would have actually seen millions of more jobs lost, and we would be in a great depression.

So I know that's not satisfying, and it's not good enough, but --

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: I think the word "saved" is what's troubling people, because they don't feel it.

The President: Well, no, no -- well, it makes a difference, though, if your job was one of the ones that's saved.

So I mean, let me -- [Cheers, applause.] -- I mean, I'll give you -- I'll just give you a very specific example. The states got hammered as a consequence of this financial crisis.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: They did.

The President: And if we had not provided immediate assistance to the states, they would have had to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters. This was not just a matter of the jobs for those people. It's also the services that would have been lost, kids who would not have had teachers in the classroom.

So here's the challenge. We went through the worst crisis since the Great Depression. And we are now bouncing back, but we're not bouncing back as quick as we need to. There are specific steps that we can take that will make a difference.

So for example, we've got a bill right now for small businesses -- I just met with some small-business folks over in Edison, New Jersey, right before I came here. They want to grow, they want to expand. Some of them are having trouble getting credit. Some of them want to buy new equipment, but are wondering, can they get tax breaks that would help save them money? And this bill address that.

It has gotten tangled up in politics. And my hope is, is that we get it through. But my expectation is that we are going to keep on pushing and pushing, and the economy is going to slowly get better. And people were traumatized. So consumers now, they kind of pulled back a little bit. Businesses, who actually are profitable again and have a lot of cash, are hesitating in terms of investment.

And slowly, as people get more confident that this recovery is stable and here to stay, then I think we're going to do better.

And I just want to give you one example of an industry where we are immediately seeing progress, and that's the auto industry, because I think it tells a good story about what we've gone through.

You remember, when we decided to go and restructure the auto industry, there were a lot of complaints about that. Why are we bailing out the car companies? Now, we'd been bailing them out for years before that, just asking nothing in return.

We finally said, you restructure. As a consequence, GM and Chrysler did not go through liquidation. You now have all those U.S. auto companies showing a profit. They've rehired 55,000 workers. We are going to get all of the money back that we invested in those car companies. And the best thing is, we're now creating an entirely new clean-energy, clean-car technology around advanced batteries and what not that will make us a world leader.

Now, that progress is significant, but we've still got a long way to go before we're all the way back. And you know, the one thing I want to just tell everybody here in this audience, don't bet against American workers, don't bet against American ingenuity. We still have the best workers in the world, the best technology in the world, the best universities in the world.

And if we get our mojo back over the next several months, then I am absolutely confident that we are going to be doing terrific, but we're going to have to make some fundamental, structural changes as we go along.

Barbara Walters: We'll have more time later on, but I've got to get to Afghanistan, because it's so much in the news right now.

This week, Congress voted to spend another, what, $59 billion for the war. But 100 Democrats, a much larger number than last year, refused to vote for your plan. And now we have a leak of secret documents, Pakistan maybe is friendlier to the rebels than you are, supposedly we're there because of al Qaeda, there are only 50 or so members of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Why don't we get out?

The President: Well, look, war is always tough. And I want to point out that when I came in and during the campaign, I was very explicit. We need to bring an end to the war in Iraq, and we need to refocus our strategy in Afghanistan, because it's not working.

All the leaks that came out in this WikiLeaks thing that occurred this week just confirmed what I was saying during the campaign. Which was, from 2004 onward, Afghanistan was under resourced. We took our eye off the ball, we were distracted with Iraq.

Now, here's the good news. We are ending our combat operations in Iraq this month. Because of the incredible heroism of our troops and because of the Iraqi people, we are now in a position to end our combat operations. In Afghanistan, we've still got a lot of work to do.

And the problem that we've got is, is that, although al Qaeda right now is primarily in Pakistan in those border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it's not hard for them to move in and out across those borders. These are uncontrolled borders. And the folks who perpetrated 9/11, and their allies, are still congregated there. That is still the epicenter of terrorism targeting the United States.

And what we need is to have a stable Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is not a sanctuary for terrorism.

Now, what I've said is, we're going to get an opportunity -- we're going to give an opportunity to the Afghan government to build up its security forces after 30 years of war. We're going to help them with some development. We're going to allow them to stabilize. And in July of 2011, next year, we're going to start thinning out our troops.

But it is important for us to understand that we've got real security interests there, because if you've just go chaos -- what some people call "Chaos-stan" -- in this region, where there's no functioning government and warlords and terrorist affiliates are able to operate, that is going to be that much tougher for us to make sure that they are not attacking us.

So I'm not interested in an open-ended commitment. The sacrifices that our military have been making have been extraordinary. And I said when I announced our new strategy that at a certain point we've got to focus on building, do some nation-building here in the United States and not overseas. That's got to be a priority.

But we've got to finish the job that we started, or it's not going to get done.

Joy Behar: So July 2011, draw down.

The President: We're going to start drawing down.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: We thank you for that.

And we will also be back with more of President Barack Obama when "The View" returns. [Cheers, applause.] [Announcements]

Joy Behar: We're back with President Obama.

Okay, you thought those questions were hard. Now, these are really going to be hard. And I'm going to do a little lightning rod, so you just give me your first impression, okay?

The President: Okay, I'm ready to -- [inaudible]. Let's go.

Joy Behar: Do you know that Lindsay Lohan is in jail? [Laughter, applause.]

The President: I actually know that, yes. I did.

Joy Behar: Okay. Does Mel Gibson need anger management? [Laughter.]

The President: I -- I -- [Laughter.] --

Barbara Walters: You may want to go back to Afghanistan.

The President: Let me answer the Afghanistan question. [Laughter.] No, look, you know, I haven't seen a Mel Gibson movie in a while, so --

Joy Behar: Yeah. No, the tapes are really -- better than any movie he ever made.

The President: I haven't seen them. Yeah?

Joy Behar: Oh, please. Should Snookie run as mayor of Wasilla? [Laughter.]

The President: I've got to admit, I don't know who Snookie is.

Joy Behar: You don't? [Laughter, applause.]

[Cross talk.]

Okay, only one more, because these are obviously -- you don't know any pop culture, which is good news. We don't want you --

The President: I knew Lindsay was in jail.

Joy Behar: You knew that, yeah. How did you know that?

The President: I don't know. [Laughter.]

Sherri Shepherd: Well, wait a minute --

The President: I just sort of -- it was in the ether there.

Joy Behar: Yeah, go ahead.

Sherri Shepherd: Okay, well, do you tweet?

The President: I don't tweet.

Sherri Shepherd: You don't tweet?

The President: I don't tweet on a regular basis.

Sherri Shepherd: Facebook? No Facebook?

The President: No. I think there is an official president's tweet --

Sherri Shepherd: Yes, which I follow.

The President: -- but some 20-year old is doing a lot of the tweeting. [Laughter.] I'm just fessing up here.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Would you let your girls tweet?

Barbara Walters: They took your e-mail away when you came in, but do you do it on the side?

The President: You know, I have a BlackBerry, but only 10 people have it. And I've got to admit, it's no fun, because they think that it's probably going to be subject to the Presidential Records Act, so nobody wants to send me the real juicy stuff. [Laughter.] It's all very official and, you know, Mr. President, you have a meeting coming up, and we'd like to brief you.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: And that's it.

The President: Yeah, that's all I get.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Have you thought about an iPhone at all, making the switch?

The President: I haven't made the switch yet. I do have a -- I've got a Pod, though. And I've got a great iPod.

Whoopi Goldberg: Can I ask you, what's the first couple of songs on your iPod?

The President: You name a song, I've got it --

Whoopi Goldberg: "Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time?"

The President: I've got Jay Z on there -- [applause] -- I've got Frank Sinatra on there. I've got --

Sherri Shepherd: Justin Bieber.

The President: I've got Maria Callas on there. I do not have Justin Bieber on there. [Laughter, applause.]

[Cross talk.]

But I have met Justin Bieber. He came to sing at the White House.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: He did.

The President: He's a very nice young man.

Sherri Shepherd: Mr. President, as you going to Chelsea Clinton's wedding?

The President: I am not going. And I have to say, it would be tough enough having one president at a wedding; you don't want two presidents at a wedding. [applause] Well, the Secret Service and -- yeah, everybody's getting magged as they're going in and all their gifts are getting unwrapped and ripped up. [Laughter] Yeah, you don't want that.

Barbara Walters: Were you invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding?

The President: You know, I was not invited, because I think that Hillary and Bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband. And I'm going to have the exact -- I'm letting you guys know now, you all probably will not be invited to Malia's wedding or Sasha's wedding. [Applause]

One of the things that Michelle and I are so adamant about is making sure that Malia and Sasha have as normal a life as possible. And I know Bill and Hillary, who are terrific parents, had that same attitude when it came to Chelsea.

Barbara Walters: Have boys entered the picture yet for your girls?

The President: Thankfully, no! [Laughter, applause.]

Sherri Shepherd: Mr. President, if you want to send the girls, we're great babysitters. We're the most normal women you ever want to meet.

Whoopi Goldberg: I'm not babysitting -- grandma -- not babysitting. [Laughter.]

The President: So you want to be able to give them back, huh?

Actually, they're now old enough where they are going to be doing the babysitting.

[Cross talk.]

They can come over and help out.

[Cross talk.]

Sherri Shepherd: More with President Barack Obama when we come back. [Cheers, applause.]


Whoopi Goldberg: We are back with President Barack Obama.

President Obama, you've been in office 18 months. Clearly, you have not begun to walk on water, though people expected you to right after the election. You were told you were too slow on responding to BP, you were too fast on Ms. Sherrod, you haven't explained yourself, no one understands.

Sir, can you win as president? [Laughter.]

Joy Behar: Are you on Zoloft is what we want to know. [Laughter.]

The President: Look, when I look back over these last 20 months, they have been as challenging but as satisfying as any in my life. And I'm going to be able to say at the end of just the first half of my first term that every American in this country is soon going to be able to get health insurance, even if they've got a preexisting condition. [Applause.]

I'm going to be able to say that tobacco companies can't market their products to kids. (Applause.)

I'm going to be able to say that we've got a credit card law in place that makes sure that you don't have any hidden fees, and that you know exactly -- [applause] -- what's going on when it comes to credit card companies.

We've got the toughest financial regulatory reform law since the Great Depression, and we're going to be able to enforce these laws so there are no more taxpayer bailouts.

We've saved an economy from a great depression. And we have created, I think, a whole range of reforms on education that are going to pay off over the next 10 years so that more kids are going to college, more kids are studying math, more kids are studying science.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Will they have jobs when they're out of there?

The President: Well, they're going to create these jobs. That's the thing is, is that when our kids are doing well in school, when we've got the best-trained workforce, when they are innovating and creating jobs through small businesses, that's when America succeeds.

And so I feel very optimistic. And I do think that the reason I seem calm all the time, even if sometimes we're going through some turbulence, is, I try to take the long view. I try to say, if I wake up today and I know I'm doing a good job, somewhere down the road, that's going to pay off, and people are going to be able to look back and say, you know what, he made that decision based on what's best for the country as opposed to short-term politics.

And I think that's the best way to govern. [Applause.]

Barbara Walters: The fact that your rating is so low, does that bother you? Can we say it's going to be better?

The President: Well, you know, Washington is obsessed with polls. So I can look historically, and I can say, my polls at this point are higher than they were -- than Ronald Reagan's polls were or higher than Bill Clinton's polls were or higher than Jimmy Carter's were.

But the truth of the matter is, that doesn't make too much difference, because these things change very quickly. And what I constantly am focused on is, am I doing what's right for the country? Am I making the best possible decisions that I can be making?

And if I do that, then I have confidence that, you know, I'll be rewarded, because I think that good policy is good politics.

Barbara Walters: What would you like your legacy to be?

The President: I'd like the American people to be able to look back and say, this was a time when we tackled a bunch of problems that we had been putting off for too long. [Applause.] Health care -- we had been putting it off too long, and it finally got solved. Education -- we're finally making the schools better for our kids.

We need an energy policy so that we're not dependent on foreign oil. [Applause.] And we're dealing with the challenges to our environment.

And as I said before, I am so optimistic about America, because I'm optimistic about the American people. Every time I travel, every time I get out of Washington and I sit down and I talk to folks, they are generous, they are strong, they are resilient, they are full of imagination, they are full of drive, they are full of pluck. And there's no reason why America shouldn't continue to be the greatest country on earth for decades and centuries to come.

But we just have to remind ourselves of what makes us great. And hopefully, I'll be able to help lead the country through this difficult time so that we continue on this extraordinary journey that we've been on.

Barbara Walters: Mr. President, all five of us, we're delighted that you are here and honored to have you. Thank you.

The President: I had a wonderful time. Thank you. [Cheers, applause.]

Thank you everybody! [Cheers, applause.]

Barack Obama, Interview on ABC's "The View" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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