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. Garrett from Texas

    He's taking credit for the fact we're making and producing more oil and natural gas? Those are on private property where he doesn't have approval or denial power.

    He's shut down nearly all public-land drilling and processing.

    What a spinster. I'm surprised he doesn't have a grey bun and a dozen cats!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kenman

    I see the "moderator" is picking and choosing again!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Glad you noticed that too. CNN must think we're all a bunch of lemmings. I also noticed how Obama pawned off HIS failure & low approval rating on Congress. The guy couldn't be honest if his life depended on it.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob

    How about Obama resigns, that would be a great year of action.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Danny

    There sure are a lot of Fox News viewers on CNN today.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThisIsNot4U2

      Well...You don't expect them to rely on Faux for actual news...do you??? 😛

      December 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      No! There are a lot of Americans on CNN today who realize what a liar in chief we've had for 5 years. They also realize DEMOCRAT policy is driven by lies they can't fulfill. I could get elected by telling everyone they'll be millionaires & have free health coverage during my term. When reality hit & people realized they were lied to that's when change happens. Good luck getting people to buy your sack of lies in 2016!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smitty

      Perfect blame Fox for Obamas short comings.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. dave

    I guess he heard something about the bad economy on TV?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • VoiceintheDesert

      Hahahaha!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bdby

    "2014 needs to be the year of action". For this I can agree with what obama says.

    Action alright when it comes to the polls and the democrats demise. America will never forget your obamacare and we are going to take 'ACTION' at the polls come November.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. linda

    Bush is the worst ever. Killed all our guys with his false war. If Obama did nothing for 8 years but just stop the war (which he did), He'll go down as a great president. Thank you President Obama for saving our soldiers.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catherine

      Too bad Obama doesn't give a damn about US Diplomats – Benghazi – or former Navy Seals.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      You can keep your insurance, Period! You can keep your doctor, Period. I'll get us out of Afghanistan, Period (after my drone war of course). We're not spying on other nations, Period (Damn you Snowden!) What difference does it make now?(Benghazi) I wasn't targeting the Tea Party via the IRS scandal, Period. Should I go on???

      December 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Linda,
      Are you seriously kidding me after what he an the House an Congress did to the Veterans an Retirees. Cutting there pensions an benefits while giving Illegal Immigrants a 42million dollar tax credit. What a friggin joke!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparkysrevenge

      Our soldiers are still dying in what you call a 'false' war. You remember the one that occurred as a retaliation for 3,000 men women and children being brutally slaughtered right before our eyes when terrorists flew Jet planes into buildings. You'll recall the news stories of body parts being found blocks away, or perhaps you ignored that. If you mean Iraq, perhaps you will recall that Sadaam Hussein offered to help us 'pick up the trash' just days after the terrorist attacked us on 9/11, or perhaps you'll recall the 2 months straight that sadaam ran a telethon on Al Jahzeera to raise 25k for the families of Suicide bombers 'Martyrs' who attacked American and Israeli targets. Perhaps you'll recall Sadaam slaughtering 30k Iraqi's when we didn't remove him after the first gulf war. Perhaps you'll remember his violations of U.N sanctions, oh you might not considering it was our supposed friends Russia Germany and France that were making 40 billion a year in illegal oil revenue in a program being run by Kofi Anaans son, you know Kofi, the leader of the U.N? Maybe if you had some facts and not just slander I wouldn't consider you just another uninformed lefty who believed that Obama spouted nothing but sunshine and daises. The biased media has you ignoring the truth of those wars, and that Linda is disrespectful to every soldier who put/lost there lives trying to make sure you were safe.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Name*1817

    Wow, after all these years he now thinks it's time for "action". IF he really wanted to be the leader he claimed to be in 2008, the economy should have been his TOP priority!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kenman

    Usual "press conference", someone he determined in advance asks a question, he talks for 5 minutes, then another!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    I lost my Blue Cross plan. Now "Obamacare" doesn't cover Vision or Dental (my priorities) unless you ARE A CHILD. If you want vision and dental you have to purchase an additional plan.

    So... my for my needs my plan went up drastically in price.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Keiko

    Great news just before he dashes off on a month long vacation.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lamar

    While the middle class suffer due to this ridiculous president and administration, he is going to fly off to Hawaii for the winter. The country should be able to vote on whether he gets a vacation or not, because I am sure a majority would say NO!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wes Whalen

    He's a broken record and his plan so far has worked as well as putting water on an oil fire.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Garrett from Texas

    "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."" – From the article

    "trust me, I'm with the government" – translated for you

    December 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. VTGUY

    And now I am off to organize the Hawaii golfing community!

    December 20, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
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