The president thinks he's doing a pretty good job:
US President Barack Obama, in remarks aired late Sunday, awarded himself a B plus for his first 11 months in office, stressing in an interview with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey that there was still much to be done.
"A good solid B plus," Obama said during an hour-long, intimate soft-focus ABC network Christmas at the White House special, when Winfrey asked what grade he would give himself.
Explaining why he wouldn't give himself top marks, the president said his administration had "inherited the biggest set of challenges of any president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt" which they were still working on.
He had earned good points for helping to stabilize the economy, setting a path out of Iraq and restoring America's international image, but the job was not yet finished.
"B plus because of the things that are undone. Health care is not yet signed. If I get health care passed, we tip into A minus," Obama said, his hair visibly grayer than when he took office on January 20.
Asking someone to grade himself sounds like an Oprah question, doesn't it, or perhaps a Barbara Walters one? But it's the kind of question journalists always ask politicians, though it's often phrased differently. "How do you think you're doing so far?"
And the answer is pretty meaningless. Ask me how I'd grade myself, and I'd say "A" every time, unless I wanted to sound sort of modest, in which case, I'd go with Obama's B+. That may or may not be how I really feel about my performance-- why should I tell you what doubts I may have? The only grades that matter anyway are those given to me by the people who sign my paychecks.
In Obama's case, that would be the voters. As one of them, I'd give him a "D" based on the things he mentions himself. What stabilized economy is he talking about? The path out of Iraq was set before he took office. And I'm not sure how helpful it is for our "international image" to go from bully to pushover. And the things Obama still wants to accomplish, like health care reform and cap & trade, that he would give himself an "A" for are the very things that would push him to an "F" on my report card if he actually got them done.
But that's just the opinion of one voter out of millions. What's say we get together, oh, say in November of next year, and have ourselves a little