It was a rare moment: Barack Obama, caught off guard by a ten-year-old boy while in the public spotlight.
The US president was taking questions at a town hall meeting in New Orleans last night when the boy asked: 'Why do people hate you?'
The president defended himself, answering: 'I'm a pretty tough guy'. But the boy was just one of several critics who forced Mr Obama into a defensive stance yesterday, with the president finally declaring he is just getting started.
'Why do people hate you?' Mr Obama takes the question from ten-year-old Terence Scott at a town hall meeting in New Orleans yesterday
It was at the end of the meeting in Louisiana yesterday that ten-year-old Terence Scott asked his question.
Mr Obama stumbled for a moment. 'Well, now, first of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me now,' he said. 'I got a whole lot of votes.'
He added: 'But you know, what is true is if you were watching TV lately, it seems like everybody's just getting mad all the time.
On the spot: Mr Obama defends himself against the surprising question
'And when things are going tough, then, you know, you're going to get some of the blame, and that's part of the job.
'But you know, I'm a pretty tough guy.'
In recent weeks, Mr Obama has faced criticism both from liberals who want him to do more to advance causes such as gay rights, and conservatives who accuse him of taking too long to decide whether to send more US troops to Afghanistan.
A comedy skit on NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' program a couple of weeks ago drew attention to the issue.
An actor playing the president said, 'When you look at my record, it's very clear what I've done so far, and that is: Nothing. Nada. Almost one year, and nothing to show for it.'
The criticism was magnified after Mr Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a week ago when even some commentators sympathetic to the president said it seemed premature.
Mr Obama, making his first trip as president to see efforts to recover from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, opened the town-hall meeting by saying his work had led to some improvement in the U.S. economy and brought an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system within reach this year.
'Now, just in case any of you were wondering, I never thought any of this was going to be easy,' he said.
'You know, I listen to sometimes these reporters on the news (who say) 'Well, why haven't you solved world hunger yet?''
As the crowd laughed, he said: 'Why hasn't everybody done it? It's been nine months. Why? I never said it was going to be easy. What did I say during the campaign? I said change is hard. And big change is harder.'
In what seemed a reference to Republicans opposed to Democratic healthcare proposals, Mr Obama accused them of 'trying to stand in the way of progress'.
'Let me tell you: I'm just getting started,' Mr Obama said.
The town-hall meeting showed evidence of the partisan divide in America.
When the Democratic Obama introduced Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising star in Republican politics, some in the crowd booed until Mr Obama settled them down and hailed Mr Jindal as a hard-working politician.
At a Democratic fundraiser in San Francisco later yesterday, Mr Obama pressed the counter-attack against his conservative critics, saying he believed in having a 'loyal opposition' but rejected it 'when some folks decide to sit on the sidelines and root for failure.'
He insisted that he and his Democratic allies in Congress were 'busy with a mop cleaning up somebody else's mess,' alluding to the litany of pressing problems he inherited from his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.
2009-10-21 10:40 编辑：kuaileyingyu
US President Barack Obama charmed his Tokyo audience on Saturday with references to green tea ice cream, Japanese traditional hospitality and, of course, the small town that bears
Good afternoon. It is a great honor for me to be here in Shanghai, and to have this opportunity to speak with all of you. I'd like to thank Fudan University's President Yang for hi