It's a story that reflects both positively and negatively on the administration. The positive side is that they sacrificed politics and messaging for good policy. They were willing to forgo the headlines and the chance to force Republicans to own something if it meant improving the economy. The negative side, of course, is that it doesn't seem to have worked (emphasis added).Now, if all he meant was either that Barack Obama is wise to ignore the daily news cycle and pay attention to long-term effects, that's fine -- or if he meant that in this case, Barack Obama was smart to realize that the best thing for him and his party politically was to get the economy moving, and that would (again, politically) be far more important than whatever short-term spin that they could achieve, again I would agree. However:
Presidents should definitely not be treating politics as an ugly necessity, or even worse as something that craven politicians might indulge in but that really is beneath their own exalted selves. That's Jimmy Carter talk. Presidents are in the business of politics. That's true in the democratic sense of keeping constituents happy, and it's also true in the sense that a president's influence is achieved by mastering politics, both in Washington and out.
If pressed, I'd probably say: get the politics right, and you'll get the policy right. But I'm sure of one thing: get the politics wrong, and it doesn't matter what policy you want, because it ain't gonna happen anyway. Probably not now, and certainly not in the long run.