February 3rd, 2009
06:13 PM ET

Obama: 'I made a mistake'

Program Note: Tune in tonight for Anderson's full interview with President Obama on AC360° at 10pm ET. President Obama says he takes the blame for the circumstances that led to Tom Daschle withdrawing.

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Robert, Jakarta

    President Obama's an honest man. Good for him and good for us Americans, finally. CNN is ethically the equivalent of bad bacteria. Like Victor from Canada said, we had 8 years of the Bush administration and, lo, CNN did a really good job (not) of pinning down all the corrupt individuals appointed to cabinet positions. Gee, how many cabinet nominees were accused of tax irregularities? Hey, how about going after high-ranking administration staff who were placed in charge of policy, say like Energy... yeah... Energy... who were probably acting in their own financial interests (I dunno, Cheney, perhaps... I'm just spit balling...)

    It truly is remarkable that President Obama has been in office a little over two weeks and already the press is hanging him out to dry. The passage of his stimulus package? A failure because no Republicans voted for it. That's right... it passed the House... but it failed. Go ahead, Canada, figure that one out.

    Now CNN is telling us that if his plan passes the Senate, the real test will be whether or not any Republicans will vote for it there. Yep, that's right. It will be signed into law without one stinking, rope-towing, Bush-loving Republican so therefore, it really failed.

    Here's a CNN story: Two Years Since End of Great Millennium Recession: Yeah, We're All Rich Now but President Obama Failed Us All... Boo Hoo. I suppose President Obama's only chance of success is to keep doing things the Bush way. Hell, it worked before, right?

    February 4, 2009 at 5:20 am |
  2. Candy cane

    This mistake in not the first for the president, it's the first mistake he has admitted. Wow!
    I understand why they are so many throwbacks in his appointments, and why the back ground checks are not very indepth. They are using the same process in which they vetted the president.
    Stop the pork. Boss Hog. The stimulus plan is to complicated and its obvious pay backs to special intrest groups. Let create demand so business can grow. Give the bailout money back to the tax payers in the weekly paychecks now (cut our taxes), entend benifits to the unemployed. It will be fast and no waste. Give all American citizens in the first quarter of 2009 a $8000. tax credit to buy a new car that gets greater then 25mpg. Make banks lower all current home mortages 1.5% now. This will get the economy going fast and be equal across the board and free up money being wasted by banks. Quite giving it to banks to waste my tax dollars on bonous, jets, superbowl parties, and vacation trips.

    February 4, 2009 at 5:15 am |
  3. Brian

    Great interview Anderson. I appreciated Barack Obama's candidness. I hope he can truly get our country out of the ditch.

    February 4, 2009 at 3:59 am |
  4. Bill from Canada

    I don't understand how you can owe $128000 back taxes on a taxable benefit of $125000..Say driver for 2years @ $50000 & fancy car lease for 2yrs @$1000 per month ie $24000..
    Did Mr. Daschle also fail to report some of his non-lobbying earnings @ $1,000,000. per year?

    February 4, 2009 at 3:51 am |
  5. Susan

    I am watching your show this evening on obama, the man of color asked "How will this simulus package affect african americans"
    We are a united states NOT separated by race when it comes to being AMERICANS!

    February 4, 2009 at 2:24 am |
  6. John N

    He's got the toughest job in the world at one of the most difficult times in history and people are going to nitpick him to death? Would you call the captain before a tribunal at the height of the storm to ask him why he chose the most capable helmsman on his crew to steer his ship through the mine field when that crew member had made a mistake on his taxes? Go ahead CNN and Fox and all you other nitwits, but bear in mind while you are creating distractions and throwing wrenches, you’re on this ship too….

    February 4, 2009 at 2:03 am |
  7. Mel

    4 points:

    1) Mr. President, You did the right thing by admitting the mistake. Very refreshing.

    2) Mr. President, you should have led a better vetting process

    3) Mr. President, please don't let the No-Sayer Republicans who have no sense of cooperation & unity in such a critical time, dictate their agenda to you. We need the stimulus package and we need it now.

    4) Mr. President, please tell your fellow Democrat colleagues in the house and senate to get the questionable items out of the Bill. In fact, I suggest that you review it yourself & encourage your party folks to take out the no-nonsense/waste items.

    Thanks Mr. Presiendent and Have a good night sleep.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  8. The Bear

    To Tammy in Berwick, LA; Your "Republican" is showing. Come on, admit it, you're a Republican, aren't you? This is what you should be saying, 'Thank you, President Obama, for admitting making a mistake.' Only 2 weeks into his presidency and doing the right thing by stepping up and admitting he 'screwed up'. In the last 8 years Dubya never admitted making a mistake. He's so far into denial he thinks it's a river in Egypt! Thank God Texas has their village idiot back!

    February 4, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  9. Edward Caras

    I am not at all surprised at what has happened to Pres. Obama appointees. He told us to look for change and all I see is the same old same old. With the far left looking for their piece of the pie, I expect more of the same nonsense. Even when he said he would not have Lobbyists in his administration is nonsense. There is only one good thing about having Pres. Obama and a Democratic Congress and Senate is that the press cannot blame Pres. Bush and a Republican Congress. I suspect that the election in two years will spell a big change in the House. That will surely mean a one term Obama. Socialism does not work. When will the far left understand that this is a center to right country. McCain lost the election due to his liberal policies, Pres. Obama did not win, McCain lost.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:26 am |
  10. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    i love that President Obama is humble enough to admit his mistakes and moral enough to take responsibility for them. I have never been on a road that did not have a few bumps in it.

    It does make me wonder about the inability to locate proper people for these positions due to the level of corruption. It's kind of like selecting from a very small gene pool, everyone is going to have something that can be criticized.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:08 am |
  11. Angela

    President Obama.....God's Chosen One will complete his assignment. Bring change to a dieing world. People of God pray for President Obama everyday the Republicans want him to fail.....But God is in Control!!!!!

    February 4, 2009 at 12:33 am |
  12. dhm lp tx.

    Obama had nothing to appoligize for, and needs to save his apoligies for the real mistakes that lay ahead, this appears weak. I believe he is a bit more than nieve in apointing wolves, to take care of the lambs. Dashcel is corrupt , He would do more harm to real health reform than help. Good ridance. Obama needs to gaurd his historical reputation, and not become the "big joke". Now is the time to be honest, Use the Press as a leverage, as Roosevelt did, "Watch His Back", Show authority, and make The Big Boys Dance. He is doing great to apoint from both political sides, no secrets just do what is right. Now is the time to shine, America needs a Real Leader.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:29 am |
  13. Bindi

    It's a good thing that Pr. Obama appointed these people. Otherwise, nobody would have known it and they could have gotten away with it. The economy is in terrible shape, how many others in washington who owes to IRS? We've gotta check them all if they're all good tax payers or they're not much different than illegal aliens who don't pay taxes.

    Mr' President, I think you shouldn't appologize for them.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  14. Karen- Alabama

    It's it refreshing to have someone who understands that he made a mistake and admits it. Yes, change has come to Washington!!

    It's sad that the Repbulican have become the party of NO. It's just to bad it has come 8 years to late! They should not think that Americans will be fool again. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame o me! Get off your high horse and start putting the american working public first.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  15. Chuck Grigsby


    You go for it girl! The most intelligent thing Lou Dobbs has ever said is "goodby". I figure that CNN keeps him on because there are people in the viewing public who think his feces are odorless.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  16. Tony Villanueva

    After two weeks of President Obama being in office we begin attacking our best chance in fixing the mess the Bush administration created. Let's get behind our President and support him. It is in the best interest of the American public to ensure he succeeds. Wake up people; President Obama is the real deal, I doubt he willingly accepted this position to fail. Support our President!!!

    February 3, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  17. Chuck Grigsby


    I think President Obama is doing the right thing by having a couple of relatively minor screw-ups right now. Based on his performance in the campaign and in the transition, expectations are incredibly high. Listening to you "keeping him honest", it seems that you think President Obama can magically reverse the most serious problems our country has faced in many decades. He, on the other hand, seems to have adopted the equivalent of a time-honored (at least by urban myth standards) practice of making a load of gravel be the first cargo carried in a new pickup. After that first load, you're always a lot less concerned about scratching the paint.

    Here's what I like about our President: he's open, honest, smart, and unflappable. If he makes a mistake, he admits it and moves on. CNN, on the other hand, has to wait until the next bit of "Breaking News" to move on.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  18. Deanna Berry

    Note: If he really felt that he screwed up, he would yank Geithner out of his cabinet.

    And in my opinion, his first mistake was signing an executive order using my tax dollars to fund overseas abortions. I am pro-life, but I can live with a pro-choice president. However, making the decision to use my tax dollars for the practice is unacceptable. He should respect the beliefs of those who oppose abortion and at least not force them to fund them.


    February 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  19. Bob Coyle

    It is cool that an American President can admit mistakes. Don't get bent out of shape over the tax issues. If everyone in this country was completely honest about their taxes, I think we would be really shocked Let us see how the bankers have with their tax oblications..

    February 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  20. BC-Texas

    Anderson, I love you. You are very clear and cool also. Andwhen you asked this question and the President responded "I made a mistake" I rewind the dvr and heard him say clearly that He Messed Up! Wow, on national TV he admitted that he made a mistake. I was a little worried about everything going on with the stimulus. But now, I have increased faith in sincerity that this President really wants to do the right thing for this country. I AM In Mr. President.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  21. Vince

    When McCain said he didn't understand the economy he was ridiculed. Perhaps Obama should have been more honest because it looks like the Mr. knows all and can cure all, isn't the person he painted himself to be. Politics as usual, for sure, go with the old boys network and you get what you have always had in the past.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  22. Charles Torres

    Lets just pray for our leaders of this country.

    We all have to remember "In God We Trust".

    The minute we loose from that focus, will be heading for the worst story of this Country.

    So Why not invite God, to be in Control!

    February 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  23. Judy

    As a retired IRS employee, I freaked out when I heard about the tax irregularities of Tim Geithner who Obama had selected for head of the Treasury Dept. You have to have worked for the IRS (especiallly the Exam Div as I did) to realize what a kick in the face it is to learn that Geithner was being considered for the position that oversees compliance with IRS tax laws when he had blatantly evaded paying his taxes. Do you know anyone making 6 figures and doing their own tax return on Turbo Tax?? I was an ardent Obama campaigner but Geithner's selection seriously depressed me.
    We all chastised Cheney for letting Oil company execs write the Bush Admin's energy policies. Geithner's appointment is worse in my opinion. He should not have ANY government job.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  24. paula

    All day I kept thinking, Obama just needs to admit they didn't vet him properly or that they decided it didn't matter. SO when I turned on the news and he actually took responsibility, it made me feel like he really is being honest, open, transparent.

    Thank you for telling the truth!! It helps me trust you.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  25. Shami

    You must remember, the man's name is Obama. . .not God!
    He is a mere man who is attempting to make sense of an
    8 year old mess, hence he will make some mistakes. At least
    he can admit that he screwed up which is more than we've
    heard from previous administration. Give him a chance to prove

    February 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  26. dbl.r , West Coast

    Not only did Obama screw up , he`s screwing up by selecting Judd Gregg to his cabinet with Gregg having the final sat as to who will replace in in the senate . He needs all the amunition he can get to ward off the impending onslought from the republican senate concerning any of his future bills before them. He needs to get as near to sixty votes in the senate to thwart a filibuster by the repubs.
    He bent over backwards for support from the republican congress, and did`nt get even one vote for all his efforts .
    The GOP could care less about the dire situation our economy is in , all they are concerned about is obstructing the democrats at every turn , and thus his presidency , so in 2010 they will have a platform to run on and possibly regain seats in the house and senate .

    February 3, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  27. Deanna Berry

    Yeah...wasn't Pres. Obama still "standing by the nomination" right up until Daschle withdrew? I don't buy that he would have done the right thing, had the media not pounced on him. The NYT called him out and he panicked. This "I screwed up" stuff is a transparent attempt at damage control.

    NYT called him out and he panicked.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  28. Abby

    His humility is worth emulating. I am glad he took responsibility and did not try to share the blame like most of us do. If he continues this way he will do a wonderful job and in 9 years we will look back and say "a job well done".

    February 3, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  29. Marc S, NYC

    Not paying taxes is of obviously not a good thing. But loosing a highly qualified individual to this is a much, much bigger problem. I rather have someone who did not pay their taxes correctly than the second best person for a very, very important job.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:10 pm |
  30. Maria, Boston, MA

    Hello Anderson,

    I think Obama is human and will make mistakes. The economic situation is not an easy problem to solve and he will propose things that may not work, but I believe he is genuinely trying his best and he is smart. You can not do better than that! Regarding his picks for his cabinet, it is sad that some of the people he picked did not fulfill basic duties that the rest of us can not miss, but on the other hand, maybe they were the best people possible, which would not be surprising, unfortunately. Maybe the future will bring a more honest generation of politicians. Hopefully, Obama will also be the first one in that trend.

    Regards to you and your team. i have many favorites, David Gergen is one of them, It is a pleasure to listen to him, so knowledgeable and clear in his explanations!

    February 3, 2009 at 11:02 pm |
  31. Nancy Kriz

    People who don't like him or the politics he represents will use that sound bite at every opportune time...mark my words.
    However, I believe the best leaders are the ones who admit mistakes and take responsiblity. The buck stops with Obama. Yes, Daschle was right to step aside and should have earlier...yes, the vetting process should have been better. But in the scheme of what's going on in our economy, Tom Daschle is not someone we will be talking about years from now. It's the economy, stupid. That phrase is of even greater paramount importance today.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  32. Lydia/Texas

    It is obvious that the President knew of impending problems...but, 8 months ago.. we were not in this fix. Americans are short minded. A lot of ideas will have to change and/or wait. Common sense tells one that. You can plan to buy a new home, go out and shop for one, but if you lose your job before then, your plans must change. Bigger picture for the President, but same senario. Someone has to do this job...Daschel and Geithner were pros dispite their tax problems. America needs people who understand the decifit and what needs to be done for the new vision. If you open a school tomorrow, you won't hire all of your staff fresh out of college or without blemishes....
    Let this cabinet move forward. After all we allowed Bush to.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  33. Deanie

    Loved the interview. So glad he is at the helm and troubled by all of the ill-will expressed by my fellow citizens. Obama's success is our success. Good job Anderson..

    February 3, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  34. priscilla cunningham

    I think everyone needs to lay off pres Obama everyone make mistakes and they r picking on everything he does it's like he is under a microscope ; give him a chance he have not been in the WH even a month yet; he is not God only a man and
    And he can't fix everything and the press needs to lay off him no other president was ever in the news and talked about so often bush messed up the country he should be the one under the microscope
    And because pres Obama is AA ppl so expects him to muck up....just let the
    man breathe Rome was not build in a day....if u r without sin cast the first stone!

    February 3, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  35. James Deemer

    At one point you ask Obama how all of the extra programs became part of the package and that bothered me. The president can make request and try to infulence house/senate but that is all. Lets not forget the basics of the US gov. the president doesn't write a bill.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  36. Anne

    Brick by brick, my citizens....brick by brick. That is how Obama will rebuild the catastrophe dropped on our country by the last Administration. He has eight years of devestation to deal with. He has been in office 2 weeks. He uttered words I have never heard a president utter: "I made a mistake." He is human, he is smart, and will all the critics please offer constructive ideas, because he will listen. Ultimately, however, what has been peddled for the last eight years, in whatever format and without helping, will have to go. So to those sarcastically asking "What change?" I say 2 weeks...it's only been 2 weeks.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  37. brian

    Based on recent events, how does the average citizen trust the Democraric party which promotes expanding goverment programs but whose members don't seem to want to pay taxes to support their own ideas?

    February 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  38. Tom , Portland

    I think we are, perhaps, missing the real story here. I haven't heard anyone mention where all this tax information is coming from.

    I've got a funny feeling that if President Obama tried to push for legislation requiring an immediate tax audit on all Senators and Representatives that the sudden witch hunt on Democrats would cease abruptly.

    But, seriously, could someone please tell me who is behind this? Did the IRS just stumble upon this information? Is it legal for the IRS to do research at the behest of political rivals? Seems very convenient.

    Could really use a little "objective" journalism for a change. Anyone?

    February 3, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  39. mike

    Honestly, the media is playing 'gotcha games.' Okay, so he messed up on his taxes, and made a mistake. Just because of one mistake a person is pretty much regarded as a criminal? We'll see how this standard works when it applies to you, or your family members. Good luck!

    February 3, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  40. michael thalhammer

    I feel that it takes a bigger man to admit mistakes and move on. Tell who doesn't make mistakes.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  41. Carol Trezise

    I'm proud of Pres. Obama. Everyone makes mistakes and we learn from them. It a small setback, certainly not a major one.

    What really bothers me is trying to watch and listen to a your interview
    while you KEEP interupeting him. He IS the President and its annoying to try and listen when he doesn't gets to finish his sentence and its also rude. I know you are anxious to get everything in but please let him finish.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  42. A. Ashley

    We have an army of auditors already on government payroll: The IRS. Instead of using them to make the working man and woman' life crazy with audits for "peanuts", how about putting that army to real work: auditing the banks and those industries getting income tax dollars under the new stimulus plans?

    February 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  43. Cristienne herron

    It's an elegant man who can own his mistakes.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:07 pm |
  44. Tom, NY

    It's not the Daschle appt. that upsets m, it's the hiring of lobbyists which tells you all you need to know about the Obama Admin. It works for big corp. and not the American people like all the rest of them.

    February 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  45. Thomas E Kloack

    Hey Anderson: I think the time has come to Investigate all politicians along with all of who are Involved in our government be Investigated to see who else has NOT paid taxes owed to our government . OBAMA seems to pick them out of the hat THREE In a row. Makes me wonder who else Is crooked and owes the government money for tax evasion.We the people need to start In the White House and work our way down to the senate then the House and now start with all the politicians, lobbyists,senators, judges, lawyers, especially Doctors and of course the CEO'S especially on wall street and In every Banking system! This would be a great start for all American People who pay their taxes honestly .This would clean our government out from the CROOKS!! WOW IMAGINE THAT!

    February 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm |
  46. lisa logan

    Way to go President Obama! You are a class act!

    February 3, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  47. Darlene Ferguson

    In response to Victor of Canada: BUSH WAS A FAILING STUDENT AT YALE, not harvard, and vice president Chaney FLUNKED OUT OF YALE!!!!

    February 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  48. harry

    easy victor, this is the land of the free, for a little while anyways, USA will be like Canada, all jacked up!!

    February 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  49. Alfred Gomez

    Did Ac offer the president his own personal stimulas plan? Just asking.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  50. xtina, chicago IL

    Sorry, mr Pres. As long as Mr Geithner is stil around, there will be two sets of rules.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
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