President Obama. (Courtesy: Getty Images)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama gives himself a grade of "incomplete" on the economy, citing the difficult circumstances he inherited upon taking office in 2009.
"Obviously we are still going through one of the toughest times that we've had in my lifetime," Obama told KKTV of Colorado Springs in an interview aired Monday, but he said his policies are helping turn things around.
Reporter Dianne Derby asked Obama, "your party says you inherited a bad situation -- you've had three and a half years to fix it -- what grade would you give yourself so far for doing that?"
Replied Obama: "You know I would say incomplete. But what I would say is the steps that we have taken in saving the auto industry, in making sure that college is more affordable and investing in clean energy and science and technology and research, those are all the things that we are going to need to grow over the long term."
Aides to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney quickly jumped on the "incomplete" remark.
"I think that for President Obama the question isn't a grade on an A to F scale, but it's a pass/fail grade at this point," said senior Romney adviser Matt McDonald to the Colorado television station.
Obama noted that the financial crisis of 2008 cost the nation 9 million jobs.
"We've recovered 4.5 million jobs since that time and half a million manufacturing jobs," Obama said. "And here in Colorado you've seen sort of progress in areas like wind energy, for example, and clean energy where because of the investments we've made you're starting to see people being hired."