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. Brian

    and I wanted to add to my last post....

    I now am paying for Vision and Dental insurance for kids I do not have. Makes sense huh? Read the fine print.

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

    The right looks at what President Obama does with a filter of HATE. You lost the election, he won, get over it.

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

      Exactly, it's all about election, which means all about power for himself. Linda, when can you wake up?

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

      'filter of hate', tell that to the Duck Dynasty star, who was vilified by the left when asked what his beliefs were. Tell that to Paula dean who made a mistake 30 years ago, apologized profusely and was destroyed by the left. The left loves to flaunt the 'hate' card but they don't recognize that they are the party that is full of hatred for anyone who has views that are contrary to there own, as I'm sure right now you hate me for pointing this out.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Biased 1

      Linda, let me remind you that we elect a president. Not a monarch or a dictator. Just because he was elected it does not mean that he should have every wish come true.

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

      Well, you've certainly learned your recitation, using the favorite leftist buzz word "hate" whenever someone doesn't go along with your perspective.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • linda

      Nothing that you said "Sparkyrevenge" is what I am about. You don't even know me yet you are throwing stones about me.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not impressed

      its sad how much he points the finger of blame but then goes and spend more money on failed engergy prospects and ACA, why didnt he just change medicare oh right becuase medicare is the same.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparkysrevenge

      You are correct LINDA I don't know you. I do note that you are throwing stones at everyone on the supposed 'right' and that's a fairly standard trick used by the left. The left loves to say the right are 'uneducated white trash racist', while out of the same mouths the left will say 'The right is full of the rich and entitled big business owners'. Its duplicity at its highest. When Obama was elect, voting against him was considered 'racist' by the left. When speaking out against him, it was 'Hate speak' and 'Racism'. The tea party movement was 'Racism'. All I hear from the left is name calling or 'Stone' throwing. I think perhaps you should look in the mirror or more appropriately the facts before you take the internet to protect a president that neither needs your protection or deserves it. We on the right get to vent and stand up for our values whether or not the left likes it. It's protected by the constitution and that is the sole purpose of the tea party, protecting the constitution. You know, the basis for our country that many of my friends have fought for and more than a few have died defending. The one this president ignores with executive orders whenever he is faced with opposition. He isn't the first to do this but he is the first to do it at this frenetic a pace. This senate is the first to enact the 'nuclear' option which takes out a key piece of checks and balances and I wonder how much the left will enjoy that victory if the Republicans when the senate next election? I doubt they will like it, and they will call the republicans all kinds of things and blame them as the root of all evil when it occurs. Democrats lie a lot, they say they will give everything to everyone, and even though everyone knows they can't deliver on those promises because of cost and feasibility issues the left keeps voting for them anyway. It boggles the mind.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Michael

    Great article!! Just the facts, no CNN spin. Thank goodness that the Grinch can afford to fly AF1, at our expense for his next vacation.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Three3

    Have a problem, give a speech. That's the Obama way. Did we expect anything more from a guy with no executive experience?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. keeeleee

    It's all about himself, again.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • linda

      wake up, take the filter of hate off and you'll see the truth

      December 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Truth

    Your kidding right. If you do not realize that this administration saved this country from what Mr. Texas Bush did to it you are blind. I'm not the biggest Obama fan but you republians have had the only real sensible republican in office last 5 years now. I wonder why you hate him? What can it be?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparkysrevenge

      Apparently you listen only to what he says and ignore every single Economic analyst out there. Oh, and you might want to ask an Economic analyst what single piece of legislation lead to the economic disaster bush had, they will tell you it was allowing banks to trade mortgages on the stock market, that was banned after the great depression, and your boy Bill Clinton signed it into law at the behest of Emanuel Obama's former chief of staff. I love how the lefties always claim they know everything that conservatives are ignorant, and then lefties ignore the facts at every turn when they don't go along with the party line.

      December 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jimmy

    This POTUS is not a leader he's just an empty suit.
    He has polarized this country more than George W Bush.
    Why?............ Passing the ACA on a strickly party line, partisen basis.
    His number one promise is broken: "I will would bring us together"
    He's divider not a uniter, all talk and no real progress on solving problems.
    America, this what you get when you elect a law professor in cheif.
    If Bush drove us "right" into the ditch, Obama has driven us "left" into the dritch.
    Cannot we get back onto the middle of the road and make progress?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Strategerist

    His credibility is ruined...

    December 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. josh

    Regardless what's in the poll. This president is one of the best in history.

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

      in which country's history? North Korea maybe?

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

      best ever? yeah best ever at ruining a country!

      December 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kyle Grimm

    This guy is a straight up liar. Why believe anything he says? Why do you report it like it's truth?

    December 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. modocer

    Obama can talk more and say less than any President in my recollection. The original questions get lost in his rambling partisan diatribes, and he uses up time with his obtuse wandering, using 10,000 words to say not much of anything.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Latonia Jackson

    The Best Action would be for him to RESIGN. LIES, LIES, and more LIES from the Obama LIAR.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tor5

    As evidenced by the replies, a favorite far-right delusion is that "everything bad is the Democrats fault." Most reasonable people remember that Obama, in fact, took over the worst economy since the Great Depression, and there's plenty of blame to go around for that. But the Bush-Cheney "deficits don't matter" strategy of cutting taxes while starting wars left us especially vulnerable. And today, after 5 years of Obama, we're all better off. That's what objective economists, historians, and reasonable Americans recognize.

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

      I would highly disagree with your assertion that we are all better off. Some people may indeed be, but as with any government action that can only logically come at the expense of others who are now worse off. The pie is definitely not bigger, even if there are different people taking a slice. But you are right in that there is plenty of blame to go around. We were on a bad trajectory long, long before BO took office. I would submit that the situation has become far worse under BO, but he is not directly accountable for the entirety of the problems. His greatest fallacy is that he continues to swing farther and farther to the left, when every poll in the country indicates that this is not what the majority of Americans want. He's trying to make his legacy that of a social reformer; unfortunately, he is doing so in a time when social injustice may be the least of our problems.

      December 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. joepe222

    "Obama says there have been no alleged instances of the NSA acting inappropriately in the use of the data. "

    The fact that they have the data is inappropriate, not how they have used it.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    I wish a reporter would ask the President that if he had not lied about Obama Care does he think he would have won the 2012 election.

    December 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
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