August 5th, 2009
09:53 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama applauds release of freed American journalists

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama applauded the release Wednesday of Euna Lee and Laura Ling - two American journalists who had been detained in North Korea since March.

"We are very pleased with the outcome," Obama said at the White House. Their release is a "source of happiness not only for the families (of the journalists) but for the entire country."

Obama thanked former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore for their roles in winning the release of Lee and Ling.

The two journalists were reunited with their families early Wednesday after Clinton secured their release in a brief trip to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

The aircraft transporting Lee, Ling, and Clinton to the United States touched down shortly before 6 a.m. (9 a.m. ET) amid tight security at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, just outside Los Angeles.

Listen: CNN's Ed Henry explains the administration's role in the journalists' return:


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. MD

    I was truly glad to see the two ladies come home. All involved are to be congratulated. Current and former Administration members. Great job done by ALL...

    August 5, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Really?

    Another case of "American's Behaving Stupidly"

    August 5, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. J

    Any one who think that Obama has nothing to do with this, you are absolutely crazy.

    Any Adults could see that North Korea is asking for attention and that was the reason they were cranky when no one paid attention to them.

    With a little bit of honey, and good diplomacy, we can work with North Korea
    It would be totally stupid to think that USA can stand alone in the world.

    If we can work with North Korea we can help saving that region including our allies like South Korea
    Of course, GOP won't like diplomacy. They like it when USA is at Wars
    and if John McCain is a president, we probably be sending Nukes to North Korea by now.

    August 5, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Tom Paine

    It's easy enough to get hostages back if you pay the ransom and do a tap dance for the kidnappers, which we just did. Another great job, Obama.

    August 5, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Shari, NY

    Thought for the day: IT IS BETTER TO REMAIN SILENT AND THOUGHT OF AS A FOOL THAN TO OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND REMOVE ALL DOUBT! God bless Bill Clinton, but he DID NOT do this on his own. It would be politically incorrect for a "commoner", irrespective of his previous stature, to take on such a highly sensitive task. The current administration was behind it.

    August 5, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Kate in San Diego

    While we were watching the journalists come home, my husband said "Be sure to go on that CNN website you are always talking about and tell me what they are saying. You know all the nutjob republicans will be trying to make this into something bad." Oh my – he is so phrophetic! I am really starting to believe many of you actually want something bad to happen to this country just to hurt the president and hope he looks bad. This is really pathetic. You people make me physically ill.

    August 5, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Berkeley grads in Iran will be rescued just as soon as Bush and Cheney can pack an overnight bag James from Cali. Not to worry.

    August 5, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Claudette Siar

    Mr. President we applaud you, for working together with Hillary, Bill and others to make America better. Bill Clinton you are a very brave man. I was holding my breathe and in tears when the plane left the air space. Hillary, good job, use what you have because you have a large mess from the Bush administration in foreign affairs.

    President Obama you are the leader I expected you would be as President. You rhave created TEAM AMERICA. You have many things on your plate, healthcare with a public option is a priority. Good job to all on our team and welcome home ladies...

    August 5, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. Margaret

    Takes a CLINTON to do an OBAMA job.

    August 5, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Thank YOU President Clinton

    As great as ever!! Thank you Mr President for your continuing effort in doing everything in your power to maintain the safety of the American Public including working with world powers who have been not so friendly to the U.S.. You still show the world what a little kindness and recognition can do in tough situations. Too bad some of the other "politicians" in our country don't practice your bargaining tactics. Maybe our country could once again become the great country it use to be if only they would.

    August 5, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Mark from Houston

    Thank you, form a Chinese American. This is another evidence that US is one great nation made of all colors of people.

    August 5, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Shelly

    Obama served cupcakes to the press while Clinton assumes the role of President.

    Nice job President Clinton.

    August 5, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Sam in Houston

    Way to go Presidnet Clinton....thank you for all of your hard working from you and your team to bring these ladies home. We need to stop praising Nobama for something didnt do. He had little to do with this.
    Now we need to bring the 3 people that are in Iran home...Go get them President Clinton.

    August 5, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. Jackie

    its good to see the democrats working together . The dems are true LEADERS!!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. GI Joe

    I hope we promised to Send them Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, etc., in return.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha a

    August 5, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. yuyu

    If anybody thinks that president Clinton went to N. Korea without Obama's approval, well, that would be a sign of ignorance. Whatever, if you don't want to recognize anything good about President Obama, fine, anyway it was a Democrat who achieved this incredible result. I haven't heard any Republican thanking anyone. Of course, we know what they were hoping for.

    August 5, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Really

    This would have never happened if the women did not try to illegally enter North Korea. They were there basically on a spy mission working for Al Gore. Now, he is taking credit for their release. So Bill had to go over and apologize for America. North Korea just learned how easy it is to train a "big dog" to do what they want. The only had to use two small pawns in the game. This must give them a lot of confidence. Great job.

    August 5, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. zap01

    This took serious effort. It cost the taxpayers nothing more than it already costs them. This is exactly the class our country needs to show the world. Clinton has no power to promise anything so the hard Right can spin it but its all air. If you want to kick some butt send a Republican, he will pick a fight with anyone even if they're innocent. Need to pamper some butt, send a Democrat. They can sweet talk a steak from a hungry tiger.need war? Republicans. Need domestic issue solved? Democrats.

    August 5, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. JJ in NY

    This whole PR gimmick was a propaganda bonanza for the North Koreans. The primary reason Billary went there was to make headlines and stroke his own ego .

    August 5, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Jonah

    Excellent job President Clinton. As a Republican, I always thought you were one of our best Presidents. You had your obvious flaws like all of us but you have served our country well with your knowledge and experience.

    August 5, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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