“You were really talking about– income inequality, which suggests redistribution of wealth,” CBS News correspondent Steve Kroft said to the President in an interview just after a recent speech on the economy.
“I’m going to interrupt you there, Steve,” said Obama, evidently taking issue with Kroft’s line of questioning.
But Kroft stood his ground. “There are going to be people who say, ‘This is the socialist Obama and he’s come out of the closet’!” Kroft said.
Obama responded: “Look, everybody’s concerned about inequality. Those folks in there, who were listening to the speech, those are teachers and small business people, and probably some small-town bankers, who are in there thinking to themselves, ‘How is it that I — we’re working so hard’ and meanwhile, they know that corporate profits are at a record level, that a lot of folks are doing very well. What’s happened to the bargain? What’s happened to the American deal that says, you know, we are focused on building a strong middle class?”
Then Kroft said: “This is the class warfare you have been accused of by the Republicans.”
To which the President answered: “Look, the problem is, is that our politics has gotten to the point where we can’t have an honest conversation about the greatest income inequality since the 1920s. And we can’t have an honest conversation about the irresponsibility that resulted in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression without somebody saying that somehow we’re being divisive. No, we’re being honest about what happened and we’ve got to be honest about how we move forward.”
The President also pressed his case for why he deserves a second term in next year’s elections.