CBS News's Charlie Rose has an interview with Barack and Michelle Obama airing tomorrow, and in an advance excerpt, the president says his biggest mistake was focusing too much on policy and not enough on the "story" of his presidency:
"When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well," the president said, "the mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times."
Mr. Obama acknowledged the dissonance between others' perception of his strength as an expert orator, and his own.
"It's funny - when I ran, everybody said, well he can give a good speech but can he actually manage the job?" he said. "And in my first two years, I think the notion was, 'Well, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where's the story that tells us where he's going?' And I think that was a legitimate criticism."
Pressed by Rose about what he felt he needed to explain better to the American people, the president corrected that he wanted to do more "explaining, but also inspiring."
Update: Mitt Romney responds in an official statement:
President Obama believes that millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs and their livelihood because he failed to tell a good story. Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead. No wonder Americans are losing faith in his presidency.