When I think about what we've done well and what we haven't done well...the mistake of my first term—couple of years—was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.This is actually a pretty interesting answer from Obama. On one hand, it's a bit like going to a job interview and saying your greatest weakness is working too hard. "Getting the policy right" isn't really a mistake, after all.
But if you ignore the hope-y change-y stuff at the end, his first sentence is a nail-on-the-head description of what went wrong in the Obama administration for about two and a half years. Obama seems to have spent half his first term laboring under the delusion that well-chosen policy could solve the Gordian knot of congressional politics. Here, "getting the policy right" doesn't just mean choosing the best solution to various national problems, but also choosing the policy that would entice both sides into voting for it. And two years of mindless, incoherent, and almost universal Republican obstructionism conclusively demolished the idea that succeeding at politics has anything to do with just finding the correct proposal.