Four years after running a campaign in which he vowed to change the culture of Washington, President Obama says Washington "feels as broken as it did four years ago."
"And, if you asked me what is the one thing that has frustrated me most over the last four years, it's not the hard work, it's not the enormity of the decisions, it's not the pace, it is that I haven't been able to change the atmosphere here in Washington to reflect the decency and common sense of ordinary people - Democrats, Republicans and independents - who I think just want to see their leadership solve problems," he told CBS' Charlie Rose in an interview that aired this morning. "And there's enough blame to go around for that."
His comments to Rose came in a joint interview with Michelle Obama on Thursday. CBS aired part of the interview today and will release more tomorrow.
Obama, who had high hopes for bridging the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans that existed at the end of the George W. Bush administration, seemed to acknowledge that he's fallen short.
"I think there's no doubt that I underestimated the degree to which in this town politics trump problem solving," Obama said.
Obama repeated that if he wins a second term his focus will remain on growing the middle class. Obama spent Friday and Saturday campaigning in Virginia, where he trumpeted himself as a champion of the middle class, while arguing that Romney is more concerned with protecting the interests of the wealthy.
"The question right now for the American people is which vision, mine or Mr. Romney's is most likely to deliver for those folks, because that is where the majority of American people live," he said.
Central to the Romney appeal to voters is that Obama has failed to turn the economy around. The president, however, contends that his policies staved off a depression, but more work needs to be done.
Interestingly, Obama told Rose that he has no quibbles with Romney's line of attack.
"That is his argument and you don't hear me complaining about him making that argument because if I was in his shoes I would be making the same argument," Obama said.