"I thought the economy would have gotten better by now," he said.
Probably because he really didn't want to hear about serious structural problems. He wanted to treat the Great Recession as merely a worse than unusual cyclical downturn -- enough fiscal and monetary stimulus, a few emergency bailouts and it would soon be all over. It isn't true. Like an outgoing tide, this recession revealed, to those willing to see it, the wreckage previously obscured from view -- the decline of manufacturing and the financialization of the economy, the stagnation of real wages and the historically extreme wealth distribution skew, the capture of the regulators, and Congress, by the corporatist elites. This was more than the new President was willing to grapple with given his preference for health system reform.
After apologizing to the corporatists for his few mild rhetorical "antibusiness" indiscretions and groveling before them, he hopes to receive soothing approvals -- the consolation for his failures being told by the many anti-reform interests that there really wasn't any more he could have done nor do now.