December 28th, 2009
03:38 PM ET
3 months ago

Obama: U.S. will 'do more than strengthen our defenses'

President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.
President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.

(CNN) – President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.

"Those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know theUnited States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses," Obama told reporters in a break from his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

The incident on Christmas Day aboard a Northwest Airlines flight making its final approach to the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan airport was a reminder to the nation of the dangers posed by terrorists, Obama said in his brief remarks.

A 23-year-old Nigerian allegedly attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear, setting off a fire at his seat on the flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Obama said courageous actions by other passengers and crew members helped avert a disaster, and he outlined steps including reviews of passenger screening procedures and terrorism watch lists for air travel as a response.

"We are doing everything in our power to keep you and your families safe and secure during this busy holiday season," Obama said in a bid to reassure U.S. air travelers shaken by the incident.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Geoff

    Doing everything? Then why did they ignore the warning from the terrorists father?

    December 28, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. charla

    He said a lot more than that. Please report fully and accurately.

    December 28, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    OK Now I'm waiting for the Right Wing to tell me how this guy getting on a plane in another country is all the fault of President Obama. Come on, come on,,,,,I'm listening.

    December 28, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. sharon

    this was a good , short, detailed speech in which he spoke about the "immediate" steps taken. He was very much on this.

    Those who continue to fault him in every thing he does, need to regroup, around their shrinking people.

    December 28, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. worriedmom

    So Mr. Prez did you figure out that you are not the World Leader of Peace and that these terrorists don't give a flick about you wanting peace without war??

    I pray that we will be kept safe and that finally your administration realize these people don't care about being our friends!!!

    December 28, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Dave

    what threats ?????? I though their was no such thing as a ' WAR ON TERROR"..bush might have been a bozo , but i want him back , stay safe fellow citizens

    December 28, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I know the right wingnuts are outraged that a terrorist could board a plane in Yemen and then Amsterdam and botch an attempt to bring it down in Detroit. They will blame President Obama.

    In all fairness, they need to also blame Bush for not keeping us safe leading to 9/11, the terrorist killings at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, the botched reaction to hurricanes Katrina and Charlie; the reaction to the flooding in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois; the deaths of 45,000 Americans each year who have no health insurance or medical care, the invasion of Iraq which cost over 4000 military lives and hundreds of thousands of civilians, torture, and GITMO.

    December 28, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Mia

    Funny how this didn't happen on Bush's watch...

    December 28, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. keithc

    If the US spent all the money it has on war in Iraq and Afghanistan and spent it on humanitarian causes around the world, there would be no terrorism, no hatred (probably numbering in the billions of people) of the USA, just a huge amount of very thankful people.

    December 28, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Travis

    Like cutting the defense budget by 55 billion.

    December 28, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. chris l

    only the anti American liberal party formerly known as the democrats needed a reminder

    December 28, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. GREGOIRE

    That's comforting? Thanks Obama... the ONLY reason this terrorist attack failed was due to the lack of competence of the terrorist... unfortunately NOT due to the competence of our security screening procedures. Had his detonator worked... there would be another several hundred victims of ISLAMIC terrorists on American soil. I'm sure Mr. Holder will be sure to give this guy the same rights as all of our citizens... same as KSM and other terrorists. Boy it's a great time we live in... back to the pre 9/11 mentality! You guys rock!

    December 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    He said ......NOTHING! He will do....... NOTHING! I cannot believe the idiocy of the American people who elected this person.

    December 28, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. mjm

    Was that the big statement we were all waiting for? Captain Obvious needed to remind us of danger?

    We pretty much figured that out ourselves after Fort Hood and the terrorists from Colorado. It seems like we have more terrorist attempts now then the past 8 years since 911.

    We closed (kind of) GITMO for this?

    December 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. B in AK

    Wait Wait Wait........Does he mean he is going to protect us from man made disasters. Or is he gonna let it happen then let police and fire departments clean up the acceptable body count, because we cannot hurt the terrorists feelings. This was a near miss, and no matter how you cut it political correctness never saved any lives. STEP DOWN OBAMA YOUR LACKING EXPERIENCE AND JUDGMENT.

    December 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Dave

    I guess all of the apologizing and the absence of the term terrorism in the administrations briefings hasn't convinced the radical islamic extremist that we are not their enemy. All the political correctness demonstrated by the president and his cabinet has made us appear to be weak and unwilling to respond to these type of acts. President Obama's hesitation to call the Fort Hood incident an act of terrorism purpetrated by an Islamic extremist in addition to the near two day gap between the actual incident on flight 253 and his addressing the nation will encourage more attacks in the future.

    December 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. gt

    we better wake up,, there are some democratic house members who need to understand there are some in this world who hate are guts,,, they wont meet in the white house lawn for a beer and a chat,,,sorry but cheney may be correct ,, this is not the sky is falling scare tatic,,,they want us dead,,,

    December 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. JB - NYC

    Resign.. that would be a good first step.

    December 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Mike

    Wow, did he actually call it 'terrorism'? What happened to 'man caused disasters'? Maybe he should clue in his head of the DHS, who actually said the system worked. This administration is a collection of idiots led by the clueless.

    December 28, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. mjm

    "Obama said courageous actions by other passengers and crew members helped avert a disaster"

    So he apparently has no clue how this went down. The terrorist was free to detonate. No one stopped him. The fact that the explosive didn't work saved the people from disaster.

    It seems like the terrorists are coming after us harder than ever in the past year. Wonder why......

    December 28, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Thousands of planes, flight crews and passengers are still flying every day because there is security in place. No one can make me or my family fear going about our lives doing the things we enjoy.

    December 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. joel

    Unless every country in the world is going to step up their game against terrorism we are SCREWED !!!

    December 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Thank you, Mr. President!

    I have complete confidence that you and all personnel charged with protecting our nation are doing everything in their power to ensure our safety.

    December 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. southerncousin

    I knew it, he is going to release the H (HIllary apology) bomb on them. The most effective tool we have left in our arsenal. We have spent the money that we could have used for defense to make sure the dope smoking, non working, non taxpaying, Oprah watching supporters of this fool can continue the lifestyle that the NEA prepared them so well for. Obama needs to know, he doesn't scare anyone, they are laughing at him.

    December 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm sure you're administration is working diligently to correct flaws in our security. I think we need the full X-Ray scan machines(as seen in the movie Total Recall) at the gates. Carry on and enjoy the rest of your vacay Mr. President.

    December 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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