Morning Vid: Obama Says Election Was 'Referendum on the Economy'

Voters held Democrats responsible for slow economic growth

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President Obama blamed his party's massive loss last Tuesday on the crappy economy, not his policies, in an interview with 60 Minutes, his first since the election-day blowout.

"The party in power was held responsible for an economy that is still underperforming," the president said. Do voters want smaller government? "First and foremost, they want jobs and economic growth."

Obama said the Democrats were "so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done" that he and his party forgot that "leadership isn't just legislation." However, Obama dismissed complaints from the left that if he'd just made the perfect speech, he could have persuaded "the half of the country that voted for John McCain" that his policies were right. The entire country doesn't always agree "with the New York Times editorial page."

The president also admitted he had failed to change the sharply partisan tone in Washington, one of his campaign promises. It's not just Republicans, Obama said. He's guilty, too. "Part of my promise to the American people when I was elected was to maintain the kind of tone that says we can disagree without being disagreeable. And I think over the course of two years, there have been times where I’ve slipped on that commitment."