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. kiwisepp

    forget these failed immigration bill, gun control bill, NSA leaking and tumbled ACA rolling out, at the end , it is all about economy, stupid. This is a great year of Obama's presidency

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

      Yeah this is the best year of the last crapy five, which have been under the same president

      December 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smitty

      Wow, another lost soul. Good luck to you, you need it.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    "rare" ?????? He throws himself on TV every week every chance he gets.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rivthis

    How nice of him to fly him and his family and all their security to Hawaii for the holidays. Nothing like spending more of the tax payers money on unnecessary trips.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • urcall

      Elect a robot president, that may not ask for vacation. Get some life people !!!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      But I bet it was ok for Dubya to be at Crawford ranch every year during his presidency?

      December 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robin Jones

    Another shovel-ready speech and lots of dancing.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Satan


    December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dell

    You can keep your Obama if you like your Obama...I can tell he's lying...his lips are moving

    December 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • OnTheRoad

      You can say the same for any currently elected politician at any level of our government! And that goes for the local Dog Catcher to the White House!

      December 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYNJCT

      Dell- I totally agree with you. Owebama has made Healthcare, Economic, Diplomat Relationship w/Russia, China, Saudi
      Arabia, and Israel.

      December 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYNJCT

      I totally agree with you.

      December 20, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Garrett from Texas

    He's says unemployment has fallen, but what about the median income in America? It has fallen.

    How about how much of our income we get to keep after the rise of health insurance on most Americans? It has fallen.

    He has lowered the common denominator rather than raising up the poor.

    Lower standards in a more nationalist society.

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

      "Dear Garrett from Texas
      He's says unemployment has fallen, but what about the median income in America? It has fallen."
      You have a good point that American median income has fallen, but most price of gas, productions, foods, insurance
      and taxes have skyrocketed.

      December 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. McBob79

    Very difficult to believe one word the spin-doctor in chief says. He's full of half-truths and blames everyone but himself for the problem he's created. Worst president in a lifetime!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robin Jones

    No delusions required, even from the wing-nuts, to recognize blatant dishonesty and incompetence.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Garrett from Texas

    The Great Middle America? The one with the lower median income because the new jobs pay less?

    The one that gets to keep less of their money every month because they're paying higher premiums because of ObamaCare?

    How Great is the Middle feeling now?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • griz5106

      Solid middle class here, feeling really good. Premiums about the same as before. Life is good.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    The recent unemployment rate is crap! After all, everyone's benefits end at the end of the year. What will the rate be then, 0%? Those who have given up or are just too lazy to work are not included in the numbers. The actual unemployment rate including those who don't report is more like 14%!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lewis

    I will listen to what he has to say. I will not be like other republicans and ignore him. I respect the president, even if I do not always agree with him.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Garrett from Texas

      We're listening to what he has to say. We're heckling him for it.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gary Simpson

    Too late for Obama – he has lost all credibility – been exposed as a serial liar! Nothing can fix the Turkey called Obama care – the best case scenario is to take the "very few" good thing and save them and scrap the rest. Sadly, the Dear Leader's ego is too massive to admit his signature piece of legislation is a failure, plus his narcissism prevents him from even considering and/or admitting he failed.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dnokc

    He's announcing Obamacare has fulfilled it's purpose. Because of all the quality jobs created.... it is no longer required. Employers will now be providing health insurance coverage.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Heres some dilusions for ya.

    The Dem took over both branches of Congress in Jan.2007 at which time the GDP was 3.5%,unemployment was 4.7%,the Dow was avg. over 12,000,Bush had just set a new record of 52 straight months of job growth,lowest deficit in 5 yrs and 4 straight yrs of deficit decline, then along came the Dem.........all downhill.They gave us record unemployment,record home foreclosures,record business failures,record deficits,a recession,record fed debt,lowest credit rating in history,etc.All of this was due to the Dem. ineptness which controlled Congress but Obama was able to fool the people and convince them it was Bush's fault,which it wasn't.But now Americans are finally starting to wake up!

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

      You're deluded, alright.

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

      Out of curiosity, what years do you think the Great Recession started in? Hint: It wasn't during Obama's term.

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

      Here Here! Well said, only I'm curious what you thought would happen after Bush tripled the deficit, started two wars, and gave the banks unprecedented lattitude to gamble with money they didn't actually have? I just would've had to have been there I guess.

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

      lie much ?

      December 20, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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