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. Satire?

    Top achievements include ... adding wifi spots to classrooms that will further indoctrinate our mindless youth that he knows what he's doing, the creation of exactly one manufacturing job in Ohio, and more Americans driving less because of the high cost of fuel ... yep, it's another banner year!

    December 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rupert Murdoch

    They show these stills from the video making Obama look drained and tired, but in the real video he looks fine.

    The press and media are to blame for all of this country's problems.

    December 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alrick

    "President" is spelled incorrectly in the caption.

    December 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lisa Roby

    I don't believe a word that he says. He is determined to destroy what our fourth father's have built for us. He is the biggest bigget that we have ever had in office. What a shame .

    December 20, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You have four fathers? How progressive.

      December 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    341/345. Busy boy.

    December 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AirTuan

    We have the first President that were not involved or aware of what were going on leading to the screw-ups...like raising your children...they never admitted to any wrong doing...It will always be someone else faults and not his. Don't American tired of Blaming Bush?? President Obama shows no class or classless for being in the highest office of the land if not the whole wide world. Show the American people that you have some class and decency Mr President !! That would be your New Year Resolution for 2014 !!!

    December 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lone Stranger

      You have a strange sense of history

      December 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ankita

    I think it's not a big issue regarding healthcare site is not working properly sometimes it completely depends on computer server system.It create problem in downloading the page. Solving the health care coverage is more important. It will work it out if they are really dedicated to give more time rather then saying it's a big mistake.I think its a very good implementation to create healthcare website.

    December 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AirTuan

    Even Jesus would have lost his patient. If Jesus was not tied up on the cross, Jesus would straighten out his legs to kick Pres Obama on the mouth a few times knocking his teeth out for lying too much to the American people. Everything came from his mouth are just a lie. If the new healthcare is so good for all Americans...How come Obama and his family, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelocy are exempted from it??? Wake up America !!! Don't let them slamp it down to your throat with a bunch of garbages...It is so great that it has changed from Obamacare to Affordable Care Act...Look, even he is no longer want his name associated with the trashes that he is trying to sell to American. The remaining question needs to be answered, "Are Americans that stupid???".

    December 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • grammy

      I take it you are not very educated AirTuan. Affordable Care Act is the actual name of this law. It was later nicknamed Obamacare. Please go back to your local bar and tell your beer buddies they should give you better information.

      December 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    Lol @ Lone Stranger, aint that the truth? Jesus wouldve done nothing of the kind!

    December 20, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. madrogio

    What a bitter disappointment this man has been!

    December 20, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    A beleaguered President in a politically hostile environment, a good for nothing Congress, the sole purpose to bring POTUS and this admn "to its knees", America and American interests forgotten.
    These 5 yrs have seen American politics and politicos sink to the lowest.
    The legacy of the first African American President of US of A was deliberately stained and mutilated by those who couldn't swallow his being elected.

    December 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. saywhat

    Even as I write , treason is being committed against this nation up on the Hill.
    The likes of Boehner, Kirk, king,Cantor,menendez, Schumer,Graham &Co are in the process of sabotaging US-Iran negotiations to push this country towards another war.
    "Senate to by pass Committees and rush Iran bill" news.

    December 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. saywhat

    Now which power is whipping their backsides to rush this legislation against the interests of US is indeed to be mulled but more importantly what are we Americans doing to stand up for our country??

    December 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    Ty @ saywhat. Someone has to inform the american ppl what these treasonist hoods are up too. With the help of Israel, who they just sent all our hard earned tax dollars too.

    December 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chrissy

    Or are you one of those guys that support the congressional do nothing brats that cant get one single thing accomplished ever to HELP the citizens of their country EXCEPT sneakily give OUR hard earned tax dollars away to other countries???

    December 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
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