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Published: Sunday, 7/15/2012

Obama says he underestimated how much ‘politics trump problem-solving’ in nation’s capital

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — President Obama says Washington “feels as broken as it did four years ago,” when he took office.

He says he’s most frustrated by the inability “to change the atmosphere” in the nation’s capital “to reflect the decency and common sense of ordinary people” who want their leaders to solve problems.

“There’s enough blame to go around for that,” he told CBS’ “Sunday Morning.”

CBS’ Charlie Rose interviewed the president and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House on Thursday and has aired parts of the conversation on different network shows since then.

Reflecting on more than 3 1/2 years in office, Obama said, “I think there’s no doubt that I underestimated the degree to which in this town politics trump problem solving.”

On a lighter note, he said the White House will be a quieter place this summer because his daughters, 11-year-old Sasha and 14-year-old Malia, will be in sleep-away camp for a month. The president, meanwhile, will be campaigning for re-election, spending lots of time outside Washington.

“We’re going to be experiencing the first stages of-empty nest syndrome,” he said. Asked if he’s prepared for that, the president said, “Well, I get a little depressed.”

The first lady said the Obamas will find a way for “family time, because any time the girls are out of school, that’s important time for us to spend as a family. We’re still parents where you have to juggle your time around when they’re free and summer time is that time.”

In a separate interview, taped Friday and released Sunday, the 50-year-old president said the food and unfamiliar mattresses are downsides of the campaign trail.

“When you’re on the road, you end up eating a lot of stuff that tastes really good at the time but later on in the day can catch up with you, and I’m now getting to the age where being in my own bed as opposed to some other bed, is not always great for my back,” he told WJLA-TV in Washington.

Obama also revealed, when asked what voters don’t know about him, that he “can cook a really mean chili,” though his wife will claim that “I haven’t cooked it for about 10 years, so I really shouldn’t get too much credit for it.”

And one more: “I’m a surprisingly good pool player, so if you ever see me in a pool hall, don’t just think that you can ...”

“Don’t walk up and throw down money is what you’re saying?” interviewer Scott Thurman asked.

“That’s what I’m saying,” the president said. “I might end up cleaning your clock. That’s a possibility.”



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