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. atheist85306

    What an epic failure. Can't believe I voted for this guy.

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

      agreed, glad i didn't vote for him twice though

      December 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. barbara

    I think he's done quite enough.....how about he just stay in Hawaii till 2016.

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

    My trust in this admistration has diminished slightly to zero.

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

    Everyone screwed the pooch?

    Is that why I am being forced to pay for things that do not apply to my needs? Forced to purchase Obamacare... but it doesn't cover dental or vison unless you are under 18... makes sense huh?

    December 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ta

    The stupid people keep blaming bush on iraq. Atleast he kept thid nations safe and the whole world didnt mess around with us during his terms. Now under this president , every country can mess with us. More over he mess up the afganistsn war , more soldiers died over there cuz how he runs the war

    December 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bart

    What Obama SHOULD have said was "My worst mistake was to create the new Obamacare business" Because this IS a business....and goes against every fiber in USA history...State and federal governments should NOT be allowed to create a "business" as they have. Next thing I know, they will own the oil business, and make their own prices for residents of the USA...HEY...there's an idea....Hey Mr. Obama, why not give us 19 cent per gallon gas.......it would get a better response then your Obamacare did.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OJ

    Obama is on a pipe dream. He hasn't done anything but cause more problems.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian

    I am a full time student and work 30 hours a week.

    I was turned down for Obamacare because "I don't make enough"...

    December 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brandon

    I appologize for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost looking for WMDs..~ Bush

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

      Your hilarious!

      December 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      "I appologize for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost looking for WMDs..~ Bush"

      Obama needs to give the same speech...his drone strikes have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya

      December 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thom Jeff

      Just keep sticking to the old, false talking points, Lib, when you can't think of anything relevant to the story. You're such a good little sheep.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dave

    Just more of the same... So sad we've sank so low... well at least CNN thinks Miley won the year....

    December 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mbane18

    The fact that he's so against Snowden and stands by the NSA has been the most damaging thing this president has ever done!

    December 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. atheist85306

    "We screwed up"

    Should be the title of a book about the Obama administration. One giant cluster from the word go. And yeah, I was stupid enough to vote for him which I greatly regret.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. galatians22021

    Ohhhhh a "couple million people who are going to have health care...".....except he forgot to mention the MILLIONS of people who WON'T or have had their premiums SKYROCKET. Yep, that's why you ran for office..

    December 20, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Garrett from Texas

    "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."" – From the Article

    Really? Well what if they aren't serious and it really would depend on one guy?

    Is THIS making the economy a top priority for 2014's "Year of Action"? It's about as helpful as you only working on the ACA during the first two "Summer's of Recovery" on the economy.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. the real native american not cherokee either

    Mr. president hang in there do the best you can. Haters will always hate thats what they are good at. You are still president and my commander in chief , i will always respect you. You showed every one that we are a changing country. This is not white america nomore, and the republicans are not the majority. I can't wait for the day a Native american or oglala sioux is elected we will have our country.

    December 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      A native Indian pres would be awesome

      December 20, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • the real native american not cherokee either

      oglala sioux from pine ridge south dakota the pine ridge indian reservation also known as prison camp 344 by the US cal very when the government killed my people and forced them on reservations

      December 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • the real native american not cherokee either

      my people where killed and massacred when the founding fathers were establishing this free country for the original illegal immigrants known today as the United States of mutts

      December 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama is White too

      I am so extremely tired of hearing people talk about color and race. We are too intermixed now to have this kind of mind set. I'm also very tired of people calling Mr. Obama Black ONLY! He is also WHITE if you want to go the route of color. He is NOT just a colored man. Good Lord....please stop talking like this.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I would caution you against disparaging white America when said group is still indeed the majority and controls by far the majority of the nation's resources. That is not a threat or insult of any kind (I'm 1/4 Native American but look like a run of the mill white guy); however, you cannot criticize those with whom you need to coexist and then expect them to show anything but disdain for you. I am quite certain that no one living today- or even their great, great grandparents- had anything to do with the atrocities committed against the Native American populations hundreds of years ago.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
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