Obama addresses successes, shortcomings for 2013
President Barack Obama addresses reporters during his year-end news conference Friday.
December 20th, 2013
03:16 PM ET

Obama addresses successes, shortcomings for 2013

Correction: We hate to admit it, but in the heat of live-blogging President Barack Obama’s year-end news conference, we misquoted him as saying he “screwed the duck” with the Obamacare rollout. What he actually said was: “We screwed it up.” And in this case, so did we. We regret the error, and we thank our audience for the feedback.

[Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET] Obama hailed what he said was the first rollback in Iran's nuclear capabilities in a decade. Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons has long posed a challenge to U.S. national security, and the U.S. now has a structure under which Iran can "get right with the international community in a verifiable fashion" and prove that any peaceful nuclear program will not be weaponized and that it won't threaten the U.S. and its allies in the region, including Israel.

If Iran reverts to its old ways, Obama said he would put more pressure on Iran, but that isn't necessary right now. Existing sanctions remain in place, costing Iran billions of dollars each month in oil sales, along with banking sanctions, he said. There is no need to leave a club hanging over Iran's head, Obama said, because there's no doubt among Iranians that Congress will pass more sanctions if necessary.

[Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET] Asked about the implications of nominating Sen. Max Baucus as ambassador to China when Baucus offered the best hope of overturning the tax code, Obama called for "swift confirmation" of Baucus as ambassador and said that if Democrats and Republicans are "serious about tax reform, then it's not going to depend on one guy."

[Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET] Despite the negative publicity surrounding his health care initiative, 2 million people or more have signed up, Obama said, saying the program is "working."

"The demand is there, and as I've said before, the product is good," he said.

[Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET] Obama declined to comment specifically about Edward Snowden, saying he would let the courts and attorney general comment on his case, but he said that Snowden's leaks have "done unnecessary damage to U.S. intelligence capabilities and U.S. diplomacy."

He further said the United States is a country that "abides by the rule of law, that cares deeply about privacy, that cares about civil liberties, that cares about our Constitution," where countries with less concern for civil liberties have been able to sit on the sideline and cast aspersions as a result of the leaks.

However, he called the debate that was sparked by the Snowden incident an "important" one.

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] Asked what his New Year's resolution would be, Obama responded, "To be nicer to the White House press corps," earning some laughter and light applause.

[Updated at 2:54 p.m. ET] Obama cites "comprehensive immigration reform" as an example where there's largely bipartisan support on an issue. He expressed hope that despite a "few disagreements," Congress could pass reform that would boost the economy and allow the country to attract more high-skilled workers.

[Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET] Asked to name his worst mistake of the year, Obama said, "since I'm in charge, obviously we screwed it up" on the health care roll-out. Despite meeting every three weeks with officials to ensure that consumers had a pleasant experience with the roll-out, "the fact is it didn't happen in the first month, in the first six weeks, in a way that was at all acceptable."

[Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET] While insisting that the NSA has committed no abuses in performing its surveillance duties, "there may be another way of skinning the cat" to alleviate Americans' concerns, Obama says.

[Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET] "This is only going to work if the American people have confidence and trust," Obama says of the NSA surveillance program, while conceding that American trust in the process has "diminished."

[Updated at 2:36 p.m. ET] Obama says there is a review of NSA surveillance under way to determine if current programs balance the need to keep the country secure while "taking seriously the rule of law and our concerns about privacy and civil liberties."

As for the controversial collection of metadata, Obama says there have been no alleged instances of the NSA acting inappropriately in the use of the data. The president says he has confidence that the NSA is "not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around."

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Asked if 2013 was the worst year of his presidency, Obama chuckled and said that despite Congress failing to act on his legislative initiatives, there have been many successes. Among those are an increase in wireless capacities in classrooms, a manufacturing hub in Youngstown, Ohio, that will "build on the renaissance we're seeing in manufacturing" and the fact that the U.S. is "producing more oil and natural gas in this country than we're importing."

[Updated at 2:26 p.m. ET] Obama says providing more opportunities for the middle-class and those hoping to join the middle class will be a top priority for 2014, and he'd like to see the country add more jobs, especially those with "wages and benefits that allow families to build a little bit of financial security."

"I think 2014 needs to be a year of action," he says

[Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET] As businesses are positioned to add new jobs amid more growth, Obama predicts 2014 will be "a breakthrough year for America," but much remains to be done, Obama says.

[Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET] So far in 2013, the United States added 2 million jobs as unemployment has fallen to the lowest point in five years, Obama says.

[Updated at 2:19 p.m. ET] Obama's year-end news conference has begun.

[Original story posted at 1:57 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama's year-end news conference is expected to begin at 2 p.m. ET.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (405 Responses)
  1. Nate

    Poll numbers slipping? Time to use the ole silver tongue and make a ton of "I" statements.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Why would his poll numbers be slipping??? The economy is doing wonderfully (the Stock Market, the employment numbers, the housing starts, the new car sales numbers, etc, etc, etc, are all way up.) Only Republican goofballs like you would try to diminish all this good news. Get over it. President Obama is in for another 3 years, and then another Democrat will be elected in 2016. The Repubs are really history. CORPORATIONS gave away all of our good-paying middle-class jobs over these past several decades. The Presidents did not. Thanks corporations.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hitman

    SOS! Different day! Nothing to see here folk!. Move along!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jwb

    If Obama is going to talk about what he and his cronies know about how our nation CREATES jobs the speech will last for, oh, about 3 seconds. He has zero idea of what the heck it means to allow the free market to create jobs. The economy has worsened under him and his idiocy.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • paol66

      You must be trolling with such a ridiculous statement.....but then again Teapublicans offer up their ignorance and aversion to facts repeatedly.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • m1

      Talk about ignorance
      Here's someone totally happy with Obama
      What a brain dead drone

      December 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      You understand nothing about our economy if you believe the white house has any influence over it. Even congress can effect it very little.

      As for private sector creation of jobs if we just unregenerate them as people like you cry for, all i see is them laying off qualified american workers and setting up shop in india and china so that the ceo and stock holders can make a quick buck before destroying the company and leaving workers high and dry. How great your version of capitalism works.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristoff

      Yes he does have zero idea. He saw a ton of it during the 8 years of Bush. So why spend time thinking about it

      December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smitty

      You are correct. More people out of work, more part time jobs more gov spending more food stamps etc, etc., When you win the biggest liar of the year award, what do you expect ????

      December 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mrc

    Bring your tele-prompter and don't go off-script.

    Talking Points:
    – take credit for any good news
    – place blame on anything negative on anyone but you
    – don't bring up ObamaCare
    – don't bring up Benghazi
    – don't bring up the debt
    – don't bring up your poll numbers

    December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom

    If the economy had only grown by 2%...there would be no "year-end press conference."

    This is just to come out and say...hey hey hey, look, we got something right. If those darn people on the right would leave me alone, we can do better.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meh

      "Wow! U.S. economy perks up."

      Perfect timing.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • liberal disease

      after 5 years he reports 4.1 growth and thats a success story?

      December 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • m1

      Any freshman in college knows the economy follows cycles.
      When Obama took over the economy only had one way to go
      Just like FDR, we will never know the impact of Obama's policies because any failures are glossed over while all successes are highlighted.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajk68

      You hit the nail on the head.

      Time to associate yourself with the good news. Where was he each quarter when the jobs picture was not good?

      December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      CORPORATIONS gave away millions of our good-paying, middle-class jobs over these past several decades.
      The various presidents did not. Nor can presidents actually "create" new jobs. People who think that are really dumb.
      And, if you actually get out your "bubble," you would see that the economy is doing just fine right now in so many ways.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ajk68

      m1 is correct; there are occasional recessions. Unfortunately, we are way behind on the timeline for recovery.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. asdfasdf

    How does Obama feel about flying off for a vacation to Hawaii when the rest of the nation is barely living paycheck to paycheck?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny 5

      Sociopaths don't feel.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • m1

      He feels great
      The pols live off the sweat of the peasants, don't you know?

      December 20, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smitty

      Its clear he does not care at all.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. victorygin

    They better read the questions they way they wrote them.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Johnny 5

    Hopefully he's announcing his resignation. Its most likely about cutting back QE but here's to hoping.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lardoggy

    Great,more of the same B.S. we have been hearing for 5 years.I voted for him the first time but not the second time,I learn it was the same old dog and pony show.Now we have a debt of 17 trillion,40 million out of the job market and 6 million without health insurance,But all is great right????????

    December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Herrington

    Have fun in Hawaii while I adjust to my new healthcare payments and attempt to make my mortgage payment.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Meh

    Tell me lies tell me sweet little lies.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. victorygin

    I love the what is scientology add to my right 🙂 lol

    December 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Notarichboy

    Rare?? He does this every year before he jets off to Hawaii!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Crampon

    "Well look, fair share, ah, we must invest"

    December 20, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bergerfry

    Still won't believe a word he says.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
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