Do Americans Know Where Obama Stands?

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Katie Couric interviews President Obama, Feb. 7, 2010.
CBS

In just over a year in office, President Obama has given more than 160 interviews and taken questions at 26 town meetings.

In Katie Couric's interview with him yesterday, she asked him about the criticism he gets from some political analysts that in spite of all that exposure, people are not sure where he stands or who he is.

President Obama: This is the Washington analysis that came up over the last couple months since my poll numbers went down. Nobody was saying that when my poll numbers were so high, right? And I just kind of take these things with a grain of salt.

Obama Exclusive Interview with Couric

Katie Couric: So you don't pay attention to that?

President Obama: I really don't. My job is to do the best possible job for the American people. I wrote two books. I've done, as you said, a gazillion interviews. And I spent two years running for president. And I think people have a very good sense of what I care about. I got into this because my family had its struggles. And yet, somehow I was able to get the best education in the world and was able to ascend to the highest office in the land. And I just want to make sure every kid in America has that, not just now, but in the future. And so, I think people understand what motivates me. I think the pundits, what they're trying to figure out is why the poll numbers drop. Michelle pointed out, you know, if you're the average mom working out there, your husband's just lost his job, you're seeing his hours cut back, your home value's lost $100,000 in value, you're trying to figure out how to save for your kid's education, your 401K has lost half its value and suddenly someone calls you on the phone and says: "So how is the president doing?" I think their answer is going to be pretty self apparent. They're not going to be happy. And they shouldn't be.

So if we work hard and stay focused on what matters to people in their day to day lives and make some occasionally tough decisions and the economy improves, and people's lives improve then I think we'll do just fine and everyone will be saying, 'what a connection President Obama has with the American people,' which is what they were saying a year ago.