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Obama Vows to Stay the Course

President Obama's public opinion ratings are sagging, but he tells ABC television he will not shy away from taking tough action that he feels is necessary.

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U.S. President Barack Obama says he remains determined to tackle the nation's toughest problems, even if his actions are politically unpopular.  In an interview with ABC television, the president acknowledged he has paid a political price in his first year in office.
 
President Obama sat down with ABC two days before his scheduled State of the Union address to Congress and the American people.

The speech comes at a time when his policies are under attack, and his public opinion ratings are sagging.

But in the interview, Mr. Obama made clear that he has no regrets.  He said he will not shy away from taking tough action that he feels is necessary.

He was asked whether he fears that the result might be only one-term in office.

"The one thing I'm clear about is that I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president," Mr. Obama said.

The president said he will not slow down or take an incremental approach to the challenges facing the nation.  He said he will continue to press for action in areas such as health care reform.

"You know, there is a tendency in Washington to think that our job description, of elected officials, is to get reelected," he said. "That is not our job description.  Our job description is to solve problems and to help people."

President Obama dismissed the latest dip in his public approval ratings.  But at a recent event here in Washington, honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Obama talked about the change in his political fortunes during the past year.

"There are times when the words spoken about me hurt.  And change is so painfully slow in coming and I have to confront my own doubts," Mr. Obama said.

However, in the ABC television interview, the president made clear that he is not having second thoughts about the policies he has espoused since taking office.  He said that he is not concerned with his own popularity, but with making a difference.  

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