8 Times Obama Blamed His Problems on Messaging

January 5, 2016

President Obama frequently blames his policy problems on messaging rather than inherent flaws, a new SuperCut shows.

When he comes under fire for issues ranging from his Islamic State strategy to Obamacare, Obama fights off criticism by telling the public that the policies themselves are good, but they just haven’t been communicated properly.

Here are eight times when Obama blamed his failing policies on poor messaging, going all the way back to 2010.

1) On his Islamic State strategy, December 2015

"Now on our side, I think that there is a legitimate criticism of what I've been doing and our administration has been doing in the sense that we haven't, you know, on a regular basis I think, described all the work that we've been doing for more than a year now to defeat ISIL.

And so part of our goal here is to make sure that people are informed about all the actions that we're taking."

2) On Republican Senate wins, November 2014

"One thing that I do need to constantly remind myself and my team are is it's not enough just to build the better mousetrap. People don't automatically come beating to your door. We've got to sell it, we've got to reach out to the other side and where possible persuade. And I think there are times, there's no doubt about it where, you know, I think we have not been successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that we are trying to do and why this is the right direction. So there is a failure of politics there that we have got to improve on."

3) On Obamacare difficulties, December 2013

"The basic structure of that law is working despite all the problems -- despite the website problems, despite the messaging problems.  Despite all that, it’s working."

4) On the Affordable Care Act, November 2013

"I regret very much that what we intended to do -- which is to make sure that everybody is moving into better plans because they want them, as opposed to because they're forced into it -- that, you know, we weren't as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place."

5) On his Syria strategy, September 2013

"I think that folks here in Washington like to grade on style. And so had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear, they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. We know that, because that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq War until it ended up blowing up in our face."

6) On first-term mistakes, July 2012

"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 … And in my first two years, I think the notion was, 'Well, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where's the story that tells us where he's going?' And I think that was a legitimate criticism."

7) On major regrets in his first term, July 2011

"Over the first two years, I was so focused on policy and, you know, getting the policy right, that sometimes I forgot part of my job is explaining to the American people why we're doing this policy and where we're going."

8) On poor economic approval ratings, October 2010

"I think that one of the challenges we had two years ago was, we had to move so fast, we were in such emergency mode, that it was very difficult for us to spend a lot of time doing victory laps and advertising exactly what we were doing, because we had to move on to the next thing."