Obama Super Bowl Sit-Down: He Says He Deserves Second Term
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Sunday that he deserves another four years in the White House, even though the economy has been shaky throughout his time in office.
"I deserve a second term, but we're not done," Obama said during a pre-Super Bowl interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, who noted that Obama had told him in a 2009 interview that if the economy was still recovering in 2012, he would be a one-term president.
"When you and I sat down [then], we were losing 750,000 jobs a month," Obama said. "Now we're creating 250,000. We've created 3.7 million jobs over the last 23 months. We've created the most jobs since 2005, the most manufacturing jobs since 1990. But we're not finished."
The president said he needs another term to do more to boost American manufacturing, energy and job training. Echoing the theme of his State of the Union address last month, he said he also needs more time to ensure the country's "return to old-fashioned American values," referring to what has become his mantra about economic and social fairness.
"That means, for example, regulations to make sure that Wall Street is following the same rules that Main Street's doing," the president said. "But we've made progress. And the key right now is to make sure we don't start turning in a new direction that could throw that progress off."
On the foreign policy front, Obama dodged a question about whether he would support Israel striking at Iran's nuclear sites, something that Israel has signaled it may be preparing for.
"I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program," he said. "[Iran is] feeling the pressure, but they have not taken the step that they need to diplomatically, which is to say, 'We will pursue peaceful nuclear power. We will not pursue a nuclear weapon.' Until they do, I think Israel rightly is going to be very concerned and we are as well."
Asked if Israel has promised to give Obama a heads-up if it plans an attack, the president declined to give details but said his top priority is preserving the security of the United States and Israel. He also said he hasn't seen any evidence that Iran has the capability or intention of making an attack on U.S. soil.
"Our goal is to resolve this issue diplomatically," he said. "But we're not going to take any options off the table."
As for the Super Bowl, the president wouldn't make any prediction about whether the game will go to the New England Patriots or the New York Giants. But he conceded that the first lady and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, agree with many women across the country that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a hunk.
"I think they know he's a good-looking guy," Obama said, adding that his daughters aren't old enough to be decorating their bedrooms with pictures of celebrity heartthrobs.
"The girls, 13 and 10, they're not quite at the age yet where they start putting up the pictures of guys yet," Obama said. "When that happens, I may call some executive privilege and say that's not appropriate."