President Obama says he understands that it's not satisfying to the jobless to hear him argue that his administration has made the right decisions, so he expects "to be judged in a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better" in the United States.
Appearing Sunday in a taped interview for CBS, the president said he "absolutely can do business" with Republicans, but it's not his cooperation he's worried about.
"The issue's not going to be whether I can do business with (House Speaker) John Boehner. The issue is if John Boehner and I -- are able to come to an agreement; can he sell it among his fellow Republicans inside the House of Representatives. And so far at last that's proven to be difficult," he said.
Obama has said he's going to offer a plan in September to jump-start the economy. But he faces head winds from within as well as without.
His base, in the form of the Congressional Black Caucus, says the president has been too amenable to Republicans. Other supporters like economist Jeffrey Sachs say the president isn't leading, but instead diverting to a vacation while the world markets are in "deep crisis."
Obama, who's spending the week on Martha's Vineyard with his family before his two girls start the school year, said he's sitting out the month while Congress faces the wrath of voters at home, and until lawmakers begin to understand how much voters want them to cooperate and get something done.
"If all we're doing is the same posturing that we saw before the debt limit vote, that's not gonna encourage anybody," he said.
But blaming the economy on circumstances outside the United States -- like tsunamis and democratic uprisings in the Middle East -- does little to calm Americans, who last week gave Obama the lowest approval rating of his presidency. Asked about the time off, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie said he doesn't fault the president for taking a break.
"Wrecking an economy as large as the United States is exhausting," he said.
Sen. John McCain added that until the economy shows demonstrable signs of improvement, Obama saying he did the right thing isn't really going to sit well.
"To say things could've been worse isn't really much comfort to my constituents," McCain, R-Ariz., told CBS' "Face the Nation," appearing before Gillespie. "What we need to do is create an environment for businesses to invest."
Letting the voters decide in November 2012, however, appears to be the easier route. Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said voters elected Republicans in 2010 to create more jobs, but Republicans have not lived up to their pledges. He said Obama has proposed a payroll tax holiday, supported the creation of infrastructure banks and backs free trade deals, all which will create jobs.
"Republicans will have a choice. They can either work with him or they can continue to stop progress. And if they continue to stop progress, then that is the fight that we'll have in November and the American people can decide in November which direction they want this country to go in," he said.
Rove said that's a case he's willing to let voters hear.
"I love it. The Republicans passed a budget. The Democrats in the Senate haven't. The Republicans have passed a slew of job creating measures and the Democrats in the Senate haven't. And the president now sits here and lectures us about how we need to take action. Well, what is his action? He has yet put pen to paper and issue a jobs plan or a deficit reduction plan in the last nine months," said Rove, who appeared with Burton.