Obama says reelection will come down to his record [Video]

Washington Bureau

President Obama says he’s too busy to handicap the field of candidates seeking to challenge him in 2012, and that regardless of who eventually wins the GOP nomination, voters will ultimately make their decision based mainly on whether they feel he’s earned another four years.

A full year and a half before the next presidential inauguration, Obama said he would continue serving if he can assure the American people that “I’ve been on their side.”

“Americans understand that we didn’t get into this problem overnight,” he told an interviewer from KMBC-TV in Kansas City, one of three interviews the White House granted to local television stations Wednesday. “If next November they feel like I’ve ... been working as hard as I can and have been getting some things done to move us in the right direction then I’ll win. If they don’t then I’ll lose.”

That’s not to say that the identity of his GOP opponent “is irrelevant,” Obama continued. “But it does mean that I’m probably going to win or lose depending on [the voters’] assessment of my stewardship.”

In another interview, with WBNS-TV of Columbus, Ohio, the president made a more tailored pitch to voters in that key electoral state, highlighting the rebound in the manufacturing sector as a “bright spot” in the economic recovery.


“What people want to know is that we’re moving in the right direction, even if they’re frustrated with how fast we’re moving,” Obama said. “We need to speed it up but I think the trajectory’s a good one.”

A new Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters reflects the president’s precarious political state. Though he was ahead of every potential Republicans he was matched up against, his approval rating in the Buckeye State is again under water — 46% approve, while 50% disapprove of his job performance.

Nationally, the president’s numbers seem to be sagging, weighed down by the debt-ceiling debate. The most recent Gallup tracking poll showed his approval rating down to 42%, just one point off his all-time low.

An analysis of polling by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling said Wednesday that Obama is “in one of the weakest positions of his presidency” and that “there’s a very good chance” he would lose if the election were today.

Still, a batch of new national polling shows the public does side with the president on a range of questions over the debt debate. A “grand bargain” of the likes Obama has been calling for that averts a national default could boost him as the campaign begins to be waged in earnest this fall.

“If we are getting our fiscal house in order ... and the economy’s growing, then politics will take care of itself,” Obama told WBNS.

WBNS interview:

KABC interview: