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. who cares

    The year was just fine for me.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Would You Look at That

    "I 'screwed the duck' on health care roll-out" – is this his roundabout way of taking blame for something??? Mark your calendars folks!

    December 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garrett from Texas

      Freudian slip. He likes men in beards perhaps?

      December 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TomGI

    "Obama: I 'screwed the duck' on health care roll-out"

    The speechmaker-in-chief actually said this? Wow!

    December 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denny

      Let's translate Obama's eloquent words: The American people are simply "Ducks". Once again, we've been Screwed Over!

      December 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ta

    How he know his healthcare is good while he doesnt even know what in there. Another lie. If he keeps doing like that his nose will grow longer , his ears are also bigger

    December 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike in NYC

    Enough were ignorant enough to elect him ....... twice.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. timmaahhyy

    I have had worse years personally....did better financially this year than I have in a while. My home gained back some value and my savings and investments have grown modestly. The gays have not tried to convert my children and no one has tried to abort me.....that whole afghanistan thing is still going on and I would rather it wasn't but all in all not a bad year.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • timmaahhyy

      Oh yeah my insurance premiums did go up about 7% this year....that kinda sucked. but it has been up between 5 and 10% every year since 1999

      December 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. torchytodd

    I honestly just don't care any more. Bush sucked, Obama sucks...I was reading some presidential history last night and a bunch of them sucked too. I think the best the American people can hope for is that our president doesn't accidentally nuke our own country at this point.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I like you.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Couldn't have said it better myself.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      smartest comment of the day

      December 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lulu55

    Of course he rejects the idea that 2013 is the worst year, since he knows that what Obamacare will bring in 2014 will be worse than what it brought this year.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Xman

    Unemployment is down, GDP and economy coming back rather nicely despite the dribble coming from people like you.

    Of course, you'd argue that Mitt the Tw it would have been a better choice. No, how about we bring back Bush and start more illegal wars or just tank the economy once again?

    Yea, it would have been much better with impotent Republicans at the helm.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garrett from Texas

      Before the Democrat majority House and Senate, when a Republican president was at the helm in 2007, actually it was one of the strongest economies in the nation with a great GDP, low unemployment, and pretty high median average pay.

      Then the Dems took control of both chambers of congress and we got the housing crisis, the fall of the dollar, the rise of unemployment, and even though unemployment is finally starting to go down the median income on these new jobs are dragging down the average while at the same time not including the fact that many more americans simply aren't on the unemployment lists anymore due to giving up.

      Yep...totally agree with you. /endsarcasm

      December 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jacksays

    what is it, exactly, that he has done that is traitorous?

    December 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. brianH

    Democrats have no shame...

    December 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chan

    See how he comes across delusional... Well he is not. He's doing everything on purpose. Have fun because if he doesn't finish us off the next guy will. (regardless of his side they are all on the same side; Them.
    The answer to the corps now not the people.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • chan

      Isn't it great how he is now using terminology that his idol growing up used. Our great savior; dear leader grew up under the wing of a Marxist. The real delusional people are not him; its the ones that took this long to see it.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    I can't believe he even lies about little things like how long Obama care has been broken. He says "just 6 weeks"

    Is that why he just hired a Microsoft Executive to manage a LInux (the hire doesn't make an ounce of sense) job (obamacare)?

    October 1st to now is a little more than 6 weeks Mr. POTUS.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. brianH

    Raise your hand if actually believe this Obamacare debacle will actually work............!! I wonder why Democrats unanimously voted on it, all 2,000+ pages, before reading it???

    Thanks, Dems. Just thanks.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. aubrie

    Just one of Soros' goons.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
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