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. dfsdfsdf

    Awesome article.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. flashaloha

    Would there be such vitriolic chatter if Obama's hometown visit was in ,say, Anchorage?

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

      His home could be in Pago Pago and it would not change the consequences of his reign.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. blakenaustin

    A rare news conference. Are you kidding me? This guy actively seeks out media attention on almost a daily basis. More so by far than an president in American history.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandy

    I doubt he will mention yesterday's disaster of a weekly jobs report and revised claims upward from the prior week. I also doubt he'll also talk about home sales declining since July.

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

      “Claims at this time of year are very volatile, so we don’t want to put too much stock in each week’s fluctuations,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and the best claims forecaster over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Layoffs are low, which is very encouraging.”

      December 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KH

    Why bother? Just sign the bill for the federal budget.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. m1

    Your post proves some people can be fooled all of the time.
    Pathetic, brain dead Obama drone

    December 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Frank Nash

    Gee, wish I could go to Hawaii every vacation, but with ObamaCare upping my insurance premiums by 100% and my Deductible by $4000, and the fact they just voted for IRS exemptions for illegal aliens while my piddly little Military retirement is getting cut every year for the next 17 years, I have to go look for a 3rd job to put food on the table and pay my heating bills! Lemme ask you something MR Community Organizer in Chief, why did I give 20 years of my life and serve in 3 wars to get my tiny 37% of my take home pay that will be cut by 1% per year for the next 17 years while you and other pimple faced lard buckets sit in an office in Congress for two years and get to take home 100% of your take home the rest of your lives? Merry Christmas! Hope you enjoy the beach while I'll be working to support your voters!

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

      Right on Frank. I could not have said much better. Going on vacation while people starve here, and illegals staying in the shadows, hoping to stay here legally. What else could we want in a Prez???

      December 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • casprs1

      Who gets to be in office for 2 years with 100% of their pay for life afterward? People should really do research before the spout off nonsense.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      If you were born there I'm sure you could.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben Gianacakos

      So what rank did you retire at? I would assume AT LEAST an E-7 (if you were enlisted)...So you get 50% of $4281.00 (E-7 base pay over 18 years) every month ($2140.50) and that is 37% of your pay, so you make $5785.14 per month? Most people don't need a 3rd job to make ends meet when they make that much money. Didn't you take the mandatory financial management courses while you were in the service? As a retiree you have Tricare for life, so how in the world did your premiums and deductible change so drastically?

      December 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BreadNbutter

      I'm sure the republicans will fix your problem bro! You'll be back on the frontlines earning that paycheck again!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • BreadNbutter

      People like Frank have nothing better to do then spout bullcrap to gain attention. HEY EVERYBODY I WAS IN THE MILITARY! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      Good job Ben! Love it when people who spout get called out. Obama was born in HI. It's not a vacation. He is going to see his family like any normal human being would.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Thom Jeff

    Can one really call a scripted event in front of cheerleaders a "news conference?" That would require objective reporters and not the propagandists that CNN, ABC, NBC,WaPo, NYT, etc. have today.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Meh

    Day late and a dollar short just as usual.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jackie G.

    I am so sickened by the democratic mind frame. My husband is a successful business owner and makes a decent living. His handful of employees receive assistance from the government-most in more than one way-and end up at the end of the day making almost as much as my husband!!! Stop holding people's hands government!! A business owner who works 65 or 70 hours per week with dignity should make much more than a breeding, food stamp receiving, fuel assistance receiving loser!! Stop having kids you cant afford people! Give me a break Washington!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikkiq

      WOW!!! SELFISH MUCH?! Plus I highly doubt your husbands employees make almost more than he does. It doesn't happen in corporations and I highly doubt it happens in small businesses. Stop lying to yourself and accept that you have a good life while others out there suffer. Maybe your husband should cut the salaries of the workers he pasy ALMOST as much as he makes so he can give it to charity. People who are in need aren't always "losers," as you would put it.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Powder99

      Perhaps changing "successful" to "struggling" would make your point valid.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Powder99

      Either you are being misleading or you forgot to put "un" in front of successful.

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

    Yeah, let's here how much he cares about people. As he goes on his 300th Golf game and who know how many vacations to Hawaii. How about give us all a break, and you stay home and work, like millions will be doing this holiday season???

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

    Aytolah Rafsanjani friend of supreme leader in an interview in Kerman, Iran – today: Obama promised us to make amends of the recently sanctions!?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Somebody is in his element. Busy, busy.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Garth

    Get ready for more lies

    December 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Busy busy busy.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
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