President Obama’s final interview with 60 Minutes as president of the United States will air Sunday night, and during the one-on-one with host Steve Kroft, he spoke of several qualities of character that are important to serving as commander-in-chief.
During the CBS show, Obama said that the job was more physically demanding than most would assume.
‘Stamina. There is a greater physical element to this job than you would think, just being able to grind it out. And I think your ability to — not just mentally and emotionally but physically — be able to say, ‘We got this. We’re going to be okay,’” is important.’
Obama told Kroft that he’s proud that his basic character and outlook on life hasn’t changed much despite tumultuous and often contentious events of his eight years in office.
‘And people who are closest to me will tell you that — the guy who came here is the same guy who’s leaving.’
Kroft asked the president how he’d describe the job now that he’s spent eight years in the position. President Obama answered by stressing the need for a thick skin.
The 44th president of the United States has certainly proven that he can stand up to fierce criticism, even obstruction. The grueling nature of the job has shown up in his now salt-and-pepper hair.
Obama also thanked his campaign for preparing him for the office of president, noting the Wall Street panic that heralded the beginning of his tenure in office.
‘The campaign was a more significant training ground than I think people give it credit for. By the time I got here, I think I had a pretty good sense of what was required. But the circumstances in which I came in were different than most executives, right? The enterprise was in the midst of a major crisis. And so, those first six months were a fire drill.’
The president also explained why often his tone was often lighter than seemed called for during difficult national times.
‘There’s gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day.’
Those who remember Obama’s victory speech on the 2008 Election Day win will remember these words:
‘We have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.’
But eight years later, Obama tells Kroft that the partisanship in Washington surprised him the most.
‘I was surprised and continue to be surprised by the severity of partisanship in this town. And I think that I’d been warned about it. You’ll remember, in the campaign back in 2007, 2008, people would say, “Oh, he’s being naïve. He thinks that there’s no red states and blue states. And wait ‘til he gets here.”
‘And I will confess that, I didn’t fully appreciate the ways in which individual senators or members of Congress now are pushed to the extremes by their voter bases. I did not expect, particularly in the midst of crisis, just how severe that partisanship would be.’
You can watch a preview of the interview courtesy of CBS’ 60 Minutes YouTube channel:
Featured image via video screencap