Obama news conference: liveblog
December 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET
3 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. Michael

    It is crazy to see that these demo-rats cannot see that OBAMA is a FRAUD!!

    I cannot understand it!! It is clear as day!

    December 22, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    @All who still REFUSE to see any GOOD in President Obama if the GOOD stares them right in the FACE!!!

    President Obama is DAMNED if he DO (DOES) and DAMNED if he DON'T (DOESN'T).....

    I will support our current leader, President Obama, as he continues to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD!!!

    December 22, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Leo

    "We should all get about $1000 in our paycheck."

    Can someone explain that, is that actually true? It sounds too good to be true, and you know what they say about something that sounds too good to be true.

    December 22, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. CutTax

    Don't get happines of libs, run in rush is not the proper way to think seriously

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

    So at 4:17 he calls it a "season of progress for the American people". He says he will take the lessons of the November elections to heart. He has obviously done so, because at 4:19 we hear about tax cuts. The President says the economy should grow faster than originally thought next year. So, tax cuts are apparently good for the economy. Huh! Who would have thought such a thing? Everyone except the extreme leftists and their mindless acolytes, I guess.

    Sniffit is right by the way. The GOP is learning a hard lesson. Stick to (or more like return to) your conservative principles, and when compared to the ultra-left (which now owns and operates the democrat party), you look good enough to recapture the House of Representatives and pick up several Senate seats. Not only that, the single most liberal President in history starts talking about how tax cuts stimulate the economy. Of course he still believes that all money is government money, and tax cuts are gifts to the poor working rabble.

    December 22, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. CBR

    A few weeks ago everyone had decided that President Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would be powerless. The Republicans had the momentum and bragging rights. They thought they had defeated Nancy Pelosi and went on and on as if the whole world revolved around her. The Speaker of the House went back to Washington and went to work.

    For weeks we heard what the Republicans will do. There is a difference between building up and tearing down. Right now the Democrats have managed to pass legislation to build up America. The Republicans may have found that rhetoric is cheap. It was not time to gloat but it was time to pass some legislation.

    December 22, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. billy Davis

    President Obama has accomplished almost 90% of what he promised to do while campaigning for office. All with almost 100% opposition by the Repugs. Go figure a politician doing what he promised to do. I'm sure the likes of Limbaugh and Beck will scream from the rooftops that he is destroying America from within. Major Props Mr. President.

    December 22, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Having considered the past two years, I am without a doubt thankful that the majority of Americans voted for President Obama. I shudder to think where a McCain presidency would have taken us ...

    Merry Christmas to all!

    December 22, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. lost111

    Blue collar workers we must let Obama know its illegal immigrants that are killing the middle class wages. I know white collars workers, a lot of your jobs have been sent to India, but I promises you that the Dream Act is going to take more than half of the other white collar jobs that are still in America, and 20 million more illegal immigrants will rush our borders, for they will know America does not enforce its immigration laws.

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

    What a shame that these days its cause for celebration when our government gets things done that even a 5th grader can understand the importance of.

    December 22, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. La Piovra

    Unemployment is still high because the Chamber of Commerce members and the plug-ins of the Council for National Policy generally have spitefully refused to hire. They have done this, not just to derail this Administration, but because, as Orwell explained it, when the masses become too comfortable, they become too intelligent. Nonetheless, I congratulate this Congress at last: it may have spent its regular session being lame, but its lame duck has flown like a wild gander.

    December 22, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. kayla

    merry christmas to all, and to all a good night.
    thank you, mr. president.

    December 22, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Republicans weaken American/strengthen communist China!

    Republicans weaken America. Fight against securing nukes. Fight against constitutional rights for gay Americans. Fight against regulation of fraudulent Bank CEOs that don't underwrite home loans. Don't want to hold oil companies responsible for dumping oil in our back yards. Expand the deficit so they can have extra pocket money to send jobs and interest payments to communist China.

    December 22, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. KB

    i respectfully disagree with the dream act. illegal is illegal is illegal...

    December 22, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. muhrvis

    He's right, the Congress did do a lot more than they usually do before a new session.

    December 22, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. The middle way

    I think the DEM and GOP parties should both pat themselves on the back for this landmark week (let alone year) in our nation's history. We've done more for all the demographics of this great nation than I think they really could have had they really played power politics the way they both have in the past. This nation asked for a fix; an overhaul to bring us up to speed; and we're getting it! I don't think I could have swallowed the tax cut bill again had that been the only thing they'd accomplished this session, but everyone came together and realized that we would all need a compromise, and that's what we got. Please, rather than just praising the President for this week's victories, or Mitch and Boehner for the tax deal, take a moment to realize the incredible necessities this congress has given us all; things we all need. Congrats to the 111th Congress for your hard work and ability to come together in these difficult times to start steering this country on the path it needs to be. 112 has some pretty damned big shoes to fill.

    December 22, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    This Lame Duck Congress has sprouted new wings and soared like an eagle!!!

    December 22, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Hurd

    They jammed the years business in in two weeks because this Congress was the biggest bunch of losers we have had in years. Obama rubber stamped Bushs tax cuts and spent more than 4X as much – never thought that was possible. Good to see a question about closing Guantanamo which evidently will not happen but I have not heard a word about the expansion of powers like warrantless wiretaps etc that used to be such a big deal to liberals. It all depends on who does it..

    December 22, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. DC Johnny

    How can he go from "humbled by the votes of the American people" to a lightning round of passing legislation while he still has bicameral majorities? His hypocrisy knows no bounds, clearly. To pass this many important pieces of legislation in the 25th hour is abhorrent.

    December 22, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Alex

    I am PROUD that Barack Obama is my president.

    December 22, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Big_D

    We are probably just giving up everything to cut government spending since the GOP thinks it all is a waste.

    December 22, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @lost1111 who said:
    but I promises you that the Dream Act is going to take more than half of the other white collar jobs that are still in America,
    -------------------------------------------------–
    I half-respectfully, and seriously submit to you that you look into what the DREAM Act is about and who it affects to.
    You're as clueless, and LOST as your moniker states.

    December 22, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Moose

    Funny how the Senate couldn't find the time to pass this 5 months ago - all of a sudden there's a big hurry to pass it? LOL!!!!

    December 22, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. R

    Certainly can't call him ineffective anymore. He had a great last few months.

    December 22, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Granger

    Wire Palladin, S. F. : Are president of the Obama Sheeple organization? He's committed this country into financial ruin...wow..liberals are so swayed by propaganda from this clown.

    December 22, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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