60 Minutes TranscriptBarack Obama, President of the United StatesMarch 22, 2009
By most accounts, this past week was one of the mostdifficult in the young presidency of Barack Obama. At the heart of it all was the public upheaval over $165 million in bonuses paid toemployees of AIG, a company largely responsible for bringing theworld's financial system to its knees and now being propped upby U.S. taxpayers. The bonuses touched off a cultural warbetween Wall Street and Main Street, both of whose support thepresident needs to help stabilize the economy.After campaigning in California to drum up support for his $3.6trillion budget, the president sat down with
in theOval Office for a conversation about the AIG debacle, theeconomy, and getting the hang of the world's most difficult job."Were you surprised by the intensity of the reaction, and thehostility from the AIG bonus debacle?"
correspondent Steve Kroft
asked."I wasn't surprised by it. Our team wasn't surprised by it. The onething that I've tried to emphasize, though, throughout this week,and will continue to try to emphasize during the course of thenext several months as we dig ourselves out of this economichole that we're in, we can't govern outta anger. We've got to tryto make good decisions based on the facts in order to put peopleback to work, to get credit flowing again. And I'm not gonna bedistracted by what's happening day to day. I've gotta stay focusedon making sure that we're getting this economy moving again,"President Obama replied.