Authors: Joshua Cohan
(WASHINGTON) -- Calling himself an "underdog," President Obama said Monday that the faltering economy is a drag on his presidency and seriously impairing his chances at winning again in 2012.
"Absolutely," he said to a question by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about whether the odds were against him come November 2012, given the economy. "I'm used to being the underdog. But at the end of the day people are going to ask -- who's got a vision?”
The American people, he conceded, are "not better off" than they were four years ago.
Obama said his American Jobs Act will put construction workers, teachers and veterans to work and give "more consumers more confidence." Critics point out that Obama said the same thing about the massive economic stimulus package, too -- and unemployment actually rose after his Recovery Act was passed.
Foreign affairs, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and social issues like gay marriage will all be fodder on the campaign trail, but with the first caucus and primaries less than 100 days away, no issue looms as large for 2012 than the economy and jobs. The latest unemployment figures for the month of September will be released Friday, but the jobless rate is not expected to significantly improve.
Obama's job approval rate is hovering at around 40 percent, and a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found him losing to any Republican candidate 37 percent to 55 percent.
The questions featured in Monday's online interview, the first under a new alliance between ABC News and Yahoo! News, were generated by Internet users. More than 40,000 questions, including one from Republican presidential contender former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, were submitted online.
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