Obama news conference: liveblog
December 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama news conference: liveblog

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the lame duck session of Congress and plans for the upcoming year.


4:16
Obama says everybody is itching to get out of here and spend time with families
Says some of our colleagues are already in Hawaii – guess he means our correspondent Ed Henry
4:17
He calls it a "season of progress for the American people."
It's a reflection of the message sent this fall – says he will take it to heart - referrning to the November election results.
4:17
Starts with the START treaty– his pet project.
Promises we will be able to "trust but verify" that the Russians are doing their part

--
4:18
The President says he just got off the phone with Senator Dick Lugar – reminded him that his first trip as a senator was with Lugar to Russia. All comes back to today's vote!
4:19
Next up – tax cuts. We should all get about $1000 in our paycheck.
The economy should grow "faster than originally thought" next year.
4:20
Finally ending long standing unjustice – Dont Ask Dont Tell repeal - signed into law today.
4:20
Food safety laws all passed – still need 9/11 rescuer bill.
Says we just had "the most productive post election period in decades."
4:21
Disappointed about the DREAM act not getting passed – says we should stop punishing kids for the acts of their parents.

--
4:22
Lesson: We are not doomed to endless gridlock!
The president says he isn't naive about tough fights ahead but says we most hold to a "common purpose" in the year ahead
4:23
Message to military – "the American people stand united in our support and admiration for you."

--
Question from Caren Bohan of Reuters
Wants to know if Obama thinks of himself as the comeback kid

Obama says the last few weeks was a victory for the American people, and wants everyone to know that it's possible to have disagreements but still pass legislation.

--
Question from ABC's Jake Tapper
What was conversation like with Marine Commandant Amos? Do you understand his position? Is it intellectually consistent to say gays and lesbian should fight and die yet can't marry?

Obama says he didn't want to reveal private conversations with service chiefs. Basically Amos has said that he disagrees but will follow his commander and chief.
Amos assured the president "regardless of his concerns, he was confident he could implement the policy"

Obama again talked about struggling with his personal feelings about gay and lesbian marriage. He said he knows many extraordinary humans who care deeply about this issue. He reiterates his feeling that "civil union" is enough – others disagree.

--
Question from CNN's Dan Lothian.
Wants to know about the car in the ditch- where is it today? What kind of highway will it be in 2011.

Obama chuckles and said man, you gave some thought to that question didn't you?

Obama thinks the car is on level ground, and we are past the crisis point in the economy. Would like to see a pivot on jobs and growth, and says that will be his MAIN focus over the next two years, so we start making a dent in unemployment.

Obama says steps taken in the auto industry prove how timely, limited, restricted intervention can really make a difference. But he also says the American people are driving the car, and they will be the ones who will decide if the policies put together work for them. Calls for accountability on all sides

--
4:33
Question from Mark Knoller from CBS Radio
Explain the anger and outrage over the tax cuts for the wealthy. Is that a divide you contributed to?
"The frustration people felt was frustration I shared."

Obama reaffirmed his earlier statements on the unreal expectation of the rich to continue to receive such cuts over a sustained amount of time
He said of those who receieved the cuts originally – they were rich then and will still be rich if these tax cuts went away!
Says medical care for vets is important – but it costs money. We say education is important – we have to invest in research to keep our competitive ege. All those things costs money.
But says "compromise means 'taking some things you don't like.'"
Said a middle class with a shot at the American dream should be our goal. Says we should celebrate a Steve Jobs! And we should expect him to be rich!!

--
Question from CNN's Juan Carlos Lopez
DREAM act has failed, so many promises re: immigration. What happens now with GOP controlling the house? And what about border security?

Obama says there is so many things still need to be done, and this is one of them. Still going to have to figure out how we work on energy, and that's something he wants to engage with with the GOP ASAP. But calls the Dream Act vote his BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT.

Calls it 'heartbreaking' to have kids in the US, classmates of our children, who live in fear of deportation, even though they didn't break any laws.

Obama says his 'hope and expectation' is to get immigration reform done because it's the 'right thing to do'
Says his administration has done more on border security than any other in recent years.

Says we are a "nation of laws" but can also be a "nation of immigrants."
Obama says he hopes people realize how persistent he is, if he believes in something strong enough, he is determined. And he vows to engage with Republicans on border security and talk about how the US can make it better.

--
Question from Mike Emanuel of Fox News.
Guatanamo - where are you these days on closing it?

"Obviously we haven't gotten it closed."
Obama says his #1 priority is to keep Americans safe. Believes we can keep Americans safe, be aggressive against al Queda, etc but we must remember that we are living up to our values as Americans. "That is what closing Guantanamo is about."
Obama says we can house them soemwhere else because Guantanmo has becme a "symbol" used by terrorists to create more anger at America.
One of the toughest problems is what to do with those we KNOW are dangerous but because of the manner in which they were captured and interrogated, it become difficult to try them in a court.
We must be consistent with our values and Constitution – "but it isn't an easy task."
Obama says we must stand for something beyond our economic and military might – and it is one of our most powerful weapons.

4:49
Happy holidays, Happy New Year....see you in 2011!
And the President was out the door and packing his bags for a Hawaii Christmas holiday.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. NameCstone1313

    Fooled by the smoke & mirrors? Yea ,, me neither ! Ever had a millionaire ask you how things are going ? And you never will! But the American voting public thinks 450 of them do in congress ? Bout as dumb as John Edwards thinking no one would find out!

    December 22, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Sniffit
    ...Studies from Dept. of Labor and CBO list tax cuts for the extremely wealthy DEAD LAST on the list of tools available to the gov't for stimulating the economy and list UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AS NUMBER ONE.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    So using your logic we could fix our economy by taking away all of the money from people who own businesses and pay everyone not to work. Really?

    December 22, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Marcus

    Four and The Door – 'The best thing he has done in that regard is to extend the Bush Tax Cuts. That will be the one thing finally to start helping get Americans back to work. Wasn't that Tax cut deal the thing he said he would never do?'

    OKAY...
    First – He's not proud of having extended the tax cuts, but he was not going to shut down the government in order to make a politic point. That was Republicans do, they did in '94 and were willing to do that again. HE wasn't.
    Second – The tax cuts... helping Americans to get work/jobs? Stop seeing FAUX NEWS!!! NO ONE, except the losers that appear there to keep on repeating all those proven lies (according to independent sources of data) that are rampant on that channel's waves. Newsflash for you: Conservative economist tried to prove that the CBO was wrong about the inneficiency of the 'Tax Cuts' for the boosting of the economy. Since they were just Conservative and not Fanatically Conservative they had to agree that the CBO was right.
    Third – Yeah he did said something like that, check the 'First' answer.

    December 22, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Name

    Keep giving out free crap Obama.... one day the country will collapse on itself from all the welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and unemployment abusers that voted for you because they know you'll get the free stuff for votes. American dream used to be "work hard and succeed" now It's "take what you can from the public pocketbook."

    December 22, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Four and More

    JM,
    Sorry, but your post seems 'naive' to borrow your phrase. Senate Republicans have broken historical records with filibusters holding up important legislation. Please look it up.

    It was good to see, however, at least some of these senators come around these past few weeks to work together.

    December 22, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Really

    JM you are right. Obama is not qualified. We need the bushes again. We need more wars like Iraq. Or you could open you eyes and become rational.

    December 22, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. vic nashville tn

    He is 100% right on Immigration no amnesty we have to do something

    Punishing kids wrong they lived here long Dream act must pass

    December 22, 2010 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. HenkV

    Now that the real important issues for this country have been taken care of all our elected leaders can go home for the holidays.

    December 22, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Ernie

    All you folks in awe of the President should remember; all these recent bills have been passed simply because there are so many ousted democrats in this "lame-brain" congress who no longer will answer "back home, so they vote far left. It is very low class politics for a lame duck congress to pass so many important bills on their way out the door, not even knowing the details of most of them. I suspect the upcoming congress will put the brake to the run-a-way train.

    December 22, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. JM

    Four and More,

    Even if your statement is true, it is a good thing. They are elected to represent their districts and if their constituents don't want to support Obama's agends then it is their duty to try and stop it.

    Really
    Obama does not have 1/10th of the greatness of Reagan. I see you jump to conclusion and assume I supported the Bush agenda. Maybe you should open your eyes and stop making assumptions.

    December 22, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "So using your logic we could fix our economy by taking away all of the money from people who own businesses and pay everyone not to work. Really?"

    Wow...you sure know how to not make any sense. That's quite clearly NOT what the studies found and completely removes the entire premise from reality....something conservatives, as we know, are very good at doing. Why don't you read the studies instead of pretending to understand what the adults are talking about? Come back to me after you have consumed them and informed yourself and THEN we can have a ribald argument all you want.

    December 22, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    Ann
    Don't ever underestimate President Barack Obama...Despite the haters, he has had one successful piece of legislature after the other over the past 2 years...
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Oh yeah... The Stimulus Bill increased unemployment by 4% and ObamaCare has already increased the cost of health care for those of us who pay for it. Cash for Clunkers did reduce unemployment...in Japan. Has it only beeen 2 years?!?!

    December 22, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Dan White

    Obama can stuff the dream act.....what about the peeps that followed the law.? I hope the dream act and the Obama's go live in Mexico,or any other country!!!!!

    December 22, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Ha Ha

    The only thing lame about this duck is the obstructionist GOP, their rich masters and the middle class republicans who inexplicably carry water up hill for rich people who intend to drown them with it.

    December 22, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Zaggs

    So whats the over/under on when Obama pulls missile defense again when Russia complains about despite promises he made. I say 3 months.

    December 22, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. Awesome dude

    now if we could get an energy bill in at the 11th hour we'll be golden...

    December 22, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Marcus

    Four and The Door – What is your problem with logic? And with FACTS?
    Except for a very small minority (another proven fact that you really despise so much as it seems), most people that receives unemployment benefits don't like to be unemployed in order to receive them. They want to work, they really want to work, they just don't FIND the work they are looking for (and we're talking about any kind of honest work in here).
    Stop thinking that 'everybody who receives unemployment benefits is a lazy loafer'. Why? Because that could not be farthest from reality (as much of your posts are BTW).

    December 22, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Neal

    The only thing that will matter come election time is the state of the economy. It's the only thing that counts.

    December 22, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. arale norimaki

    I have a DREAM that immigrants wanting to live and study here will abide by the laws of this Country. Laws that were in place before they got in. This is supposed to be a nation of laws.
No illegal immigrants should be given citizenship. We have immigration laws that must be followed, and following those laws is the pathway to being a legal resident in the U.S. This is a slap in the face to every American born citizen, naturalized citizens and legal residents who followed U.S. immigration laws.

    December 22, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "The Stimulus Bill increased unemployment by 4%"

    Please cite your source, because this alleged factoid is batsh-t crazytalk. Did you just make it up on the spot, extrapolate it yourself from some actual facts using an abacus and some LSD or did you actually find someone out there who has real credibility and is wililng to throw it all away by claiming such nonsense?

    December 22, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Pennsylvania Super Patriot Deluxe

    Four and the Door,

    how about Four years getting a degree? you obviously lack the mental capicity or stability to understand anything related to economics. go back to your strong suits, book burning and flag burnings. i understand that you were class president of the 8th grade for 3 years straight, but this is big boy stuff and you are out of your league.

    December 22, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. T'sah from Virginia

    Four and The Door [Oh yeah... The Stimulus Bill increased unemployment by 4% and ObamaCare has already increased the cost of health care]

    And the "Sophisticated Stimulus" aka continued TAX CUTS for the Rich and Famous – brought to you by the RepubliCAN'Ts – will raise the deficit another TRILLION DOLLARS!!!!!!!!! Figure That!!

    December 22, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. arale norimaki

    Hey Obama Do you think it's time to end the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, in terms of allowing Cuban refugees a free pass into the USA? They are no different than any other illegal immigrant.

    December 22, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. arale norimaki

    To Obama (dream act)This is supposed to be a nation of laws.
No illegal immigrants should be given citizenship. We have immigration laws that must be followed, and following those laws is the pathway to being a legal resident in the U.S.

    December 22, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. JeriD

    For all the worth well needed causes that the President has pushed through, John McCain has been disappointingly absent from the YES vote. Thank God that we did not have him for president! Thank you President Obama

    December 22, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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