For his final network television interview before leaving office, President Barack Obama spoke with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft about the successes and difficulties of his administration's eight years in the White House. Obama, whose successor is a former reality TV personality with a habit of publicly insulting satirists, noted that a crucial requirement in presidential success is "thick skin."
When Kroft asked what "skills" one needs in order to succeed in the Oval Office, Obama had a quick response. "Thick skin helps," he suggested. "Stamina. There is a greater physical element to this job than you would think, just being able to grind it out. And I think your ability to not just mentally and emotionally, but physically be able to say, 'We got this. We're going to be OK.'"
While addressing the "partisan fever" that continues to drive Washington, Obama said he was often a "lightning rod" for party battles. "You know, I changed those things that were in direct…my direct control," Obama said. "I mean, I, look, I'm proud of the fact that, with two weeks to go, we're probably the first administration in modern history that hasn’t had a major scandal in the White House. In that sense, we changed some things. I would've liked to have gotten that one last Supreme Court justice in there."
The transition process, Obama admitted, has been "unusual." However, he again cautioned against outright cynicism. "First of all, I think everybody has to acknowledge don't underestimate the guy, because he's going to be 45th president of the United States," he told Kroft. "The one thing I've said to him directly, and I would advise my Republican friends in Congress and supporters around the country, is just make sure that, as we go forward certain norms, certain institutional traditions don't get eroded, because there's a reason they're in place."