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Obama Grades the United States: 'Incomplete'

6:32 PM, Oct 2, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In a recent interview with Glamour magazine, President Barack Obama gives the United States an "incomplete" grade. Obama's grade is based on how women are treated in America. 

Obama hand thinking

"I think the way I’d grade the United States right now is incomplete," says Obama. "There are more opportunities for women than ever before. I think women excelling in school is now translating into greater opportunities in their professional lives. Some of the steps that we’ve taken have helped to open up additional access, but I’m not going to be satisfied until every young person who is willing to work hard and take responsibility can fulfill their dreams. I think this campaign is going to be so important because it really presents two fundamentally different visions about how we expand opportunity for all people."

Obama was asked about this because, according to the interviewer, "Back in 2008 [he] told Glamour that your mother once said, and I’ll quote, 'the best indicator of whether a country does well is how it treats its girls and its women.'"

Obama said, "Still believe it."

"So, by your mother’s standards, give me a thumbnail sketch of how America is doing," said Glamour to the president.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, when I came into office, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Now the economy has grown for two and a half, three years, and the unemployment rate has begun to come down, but we’ve got a lot of people who are still out of work, men and women. At the state levels, and the local levels, some of the biggest layoffs have been in teaching, for example, professions that are disproportionably represented by women. So a lot of what I’ve tried to do is make sure not only that the economy is growing but also that everybody gets an opportunity. And that means passing the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

GLAMOUR: Your first bill.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: My first bill, to make sure that women are getting the same pay for the same work. It means making sure that access to college and training is widely spread, so we expanded things like Pell Grants [for students from low-income families] and set up tax credits so that middle-class families could better afford college. We’re actually seeing more women than men in not only undergraduate but also professional schools, graduate schools. [But] if they’re burdened with $25,000 or $35,000 worth of debt when they graduate, that’s a problem.

I think the way I’d grade the United States right now is incomplete. There are more opportunities for women than ever before. I think women excelling in school is now translating into greater opportunities in their professional lives. Some of the steps that we’ve taken have helped to open up additional access, but I’m not going to be satisfied until every young person who is willing to work hard and take responsibility can fulfill their dreams. I think this campaign is going to be so important because it really presents two fundamentally different visions about how we expand opportunity for all people.

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