Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
With the president's lengthy to-do list of domestic initiatives and international responsibilities, Oprah asks him how he manages everything that's on his plate. The president says it's important to remember that he doesn't do it alone. "There are a bunch of people in our government who are every day thinking, 'How do we do a good job on behalf of our customers, the American people?'," he says. "That inspires me."
President Obama also says he tries to focus on long-term targets while implementing short-term solutions—and addressing immediate issues such as high gas prices.
President Obama: Right now, gas prices are on everybody's mind. Now that's a short-term problem for ordinary families.
Oprah: $4.59 [per gallon]!
President Obama: Unbelievable. ... There are families across the country who have to drive 50 miles to get to their job, and they just see that money bleeding away from them. So, this is a good example of where we have to think short-term: How can we provide folks [with] immediate relief? But what I also have to think about is long term. How do we make sure that we start investing in electric cars? If China is able to build high-speed rail, why can't we?
Oprah: Why can't we? Is it is the way we think about it? Do we need to change the way we think about it?
President Obama: Countries are like people: We get into habits. Remember, our slogan was "Change we can believe in." Everybody liked that slogan. [But] it turns out, change is a little harder than people maybe anticipated.
Oprah: People liked the idea, but when it comes time to actually do it...
President Obama: It's hard to change some of our habits.