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. Ric

    Now THIS is the way to do it! The man get's shxt done! This is who I elected.

    December 22, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Moose

    "They jammed the years business in in two weeks because this Congress was the biggest bunch of losers we have had in years"

    BOY IS THAT THE TRUTH! Wait, I thought Barry said he was going to close Gitmo? Oh, that's right...it was a bad idea that had ZERO support, even from his puppet Demonrat Congress/Senate! LMAO! Poser.

    December 22, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. sojourner1958

    Well... Sold down the river and US weakened at least 2x within a couple days. Some wonderful accomplishments... Maybe we can clean house again in the next election? Do you think they ever read anything in DC or ever use any simple common sense? They can't do basic things so why should they be able to think in a radial manner and understand consequences of their actions.. Ugh..

    December 22, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. lisa

    "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."

    Sniffit, since you are calling out others about the CBO and DOL reports I assume that you have read them thoroughly. I think you could do everyone here who hasn't a big service if you would provide links and, to start the discussion, explain exactly what scenarios with what initial conditions, controls and variables they were asked to analyze. That discussion will naturally lead to what multiplying factors they used and where those come from so you might as well provide a primer on that as well. Thanks for your efforts toward a productive discussion!

    December 22, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Moose

    Obama and his puppets in the Senate/Congress are bankrupting Amerika! Can't wait until this one-termer is OUT of office for good. I never thought I'd say that I'd rather have Jimmy Peanuts Carter as El Presidente, but I just said it. Wonder if Michelle is proud of her country yet? I'm not sure because NO ONE IN THE MEDIA ever axes her about that question. Wonder why....? Oh, that's right....because it's the same lame stream media that never challenged this inexperienced President on his complete lack of credentials.

    December 22, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. A Happy Democrate

    REPUKES, there is no other United States President during the past 40 years that has had as much success as President Obama. Period. Health Care Reform, Repeal of DADT, Credit Card Reform, Student Lunch Reform, Wall Street Reform, and Student Loan Reform to name a few have been issues that have been debated for years and President Obama facilitated the reform in two (2) years. And, even some REPUKES, decided to break the party lines to vote for the legislation during the lame duck session with Democrates. Keep working President Obama to help our country. Go Obama!!!!!!!!

    December 22, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. walleye46

    WAY TO GO BARRY. You have accomplished MOST of what you promised and no thanks to the RepubliKlans. Look forward to the next two years of progress. ENJOY the time in Hawaii with your family and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    December 22, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ GuyinVA:
    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
    -------------------------------------------------–
    You're twisting the President's words, a favorite Right-wing pastime.
    The President was ALWAYS for extending the tax-cuts to the middle class. You know, the 98% of the US population?! He felt that that would be money that would be circulated and boost the economy, just like that extra $1000 that families will see. He stated during his press conference, hiowever, that he still believes that extending the tax-cut for the other 2% (like himself) was useless. That money could've been recouped as income for our nation. The rich, like himself, DID NOT need that tax-cut extended, the middle class did because they are the ones that are feeling and reeling from the effects of this recession.

    December 22, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Moose

    This Administration's focus is on all the wrong things - WHERE ARE THE JOBS???????????????????

    Cricket chirping.....

    December 22, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Drew Williams

    For those who were ready to throw up their arms in disgust with Obama for wheeling and dealing with the Republicans not two weeks ago, look at this man's accomplishments in two years, and then contrast them with the accomplishments of the previous administration over EIGHT years - and all this with Obama trying to work with a legislative body obsessed with little more than cynically setting him up to strategically fail. Nothing less than amazing.

    December 22, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. rcasteel

    It amazes me how for 2 years with democrats in total control of the government, nothing gets done. I mean nothing that will stand beyond this administration. THEN just as Republicans take power all this stuff happens and the liberals claim it is because the republicans can't stop the democrats. Maybe, just MAYBE, the democrats should stop pushing their friend's agenda and start working for America.

    December 22, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Moose

    I am getting ready to LMAO when the new Congress comes in and this idiot President has to actually work with others. Remember his line back in 2009? "We Won".

    Yeah - well, WE won in November - with an historic rebuke of your whithering policies. Time for the real change we voted in during the November elections. Can't wait. Send the wicked old hag Nancy and her flying monkey on their way. Buh, bye. C ya'. A new sherriff is in town

    December 22, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Moose

    To "A Happy Democrate"

    Depends on how you define "success". If you call robbing the Treasury success, then OK. How cool is it that the most recent (last week!) TRILLION DOLLAR simulus FILLED WITH MORE PORK bill was squashed!?? Now THAT'S Success! We don't need anoy more unpaid for social programs for you lazy Demonrats!

    December 22, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    BTW, yes, DOminican Mam is correct, so I should correct myself...Obama has said that tax cuts for 98% of the public would stimulate the economy. Extra cash in the hands of the middle-class is used immediately to pay down bills and consumer debt and thus functions as a pass-through that bolsters demand. He HAS NOT, however, claimed that atx cuts for the wealthiest 2% help stimulate the economy...and THAT is the portion the Obama-hating-zombies seem to be crowing about as if he has said that...it would have to be what thy're crowing about because it's the only part of the tax cut deal that their tribal masters can lay claim to in the bill.

    December 22, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. Marty, FL

    Passing the 9/11 Responders Bill
    Ratifying START
    Repealing DADT
    Extending unemployment and tax cuts
    Health care
    Matthew Sheppard Act
    Finance Reform
    ETC.

    Well done, President Obama!

    December 22, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. Moose

    I say SHAME on you rich Republicans and Democrats! How dare you make a good living. Shame on you.

    How dare you be successful and take risks to have a good life in Amerika. Shame on you.

    LMAO!!!!!

    December 22, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Moose

    I like how Mr Opportunistic HATEs the big corporations a year ago and slams them.....only to call them to the White House recently to smooooooooch up. What a phony! So, let me make sure I have this right.....last year, the big corporations were bad, but this year they're good (because they might provide jobs for Obama's failing economy)? Just too funny. Idiot.

    December 22, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Sniffit, since you are calling out others about the CBO and DOL reports I assume that you have read them thoroughly. I think you could do everyone here who hasn't a big service if you would provide links and, to start the discussion, explain exactly what scenarios with what initial conditions, controls and variables they were asked to analyze. That discussion will naturally lead to what multiplying factors they used and where those come from so you might as well provide a primer on that as well. Thanks for your efforts toward a productive discussion!"

    1. CNN doesn't like it when you post links.

    2. The National Employment Law Project has a gerat website and you can find links to the studies there as well as synpses thereof.

    3. You just asked me to provide links so people could read the reports themselves and then asked me to basically provide the Cliff's Notes and in-deatil explanations so they wouldn't have to read them. Make up your mind and stop trying to be cute...all you achieved was the appearance of foolishness through self-contradiction.

    December 22, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. Patrick from Minnesota

    If only the Republicans would get out of their sludge pits and celebrate this victory as well...

    December 22, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. Moose

    "You're twisting the President's words, a favorite Right-wing pastime.
    The President was ALWAYS for extending the tax-cuts to the middle class. You know, the 98% of the US population?! He felt that that would be money that would be circulated and boost the economy, just like that extra $1000 that families will see"

    So then why didn't Obama stand up for his morals and fight it? He said it would be morally irresponsible to extend the Bush tax cuts to the rich. He said that in 2009.

    December 22, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. Moose

    And not this puppet Senate/Congress extends free health care to the first responders....who WERE DOING THEIR JOB. Why don't we extend free health care to ME???? I'm just doing my job. More FREE social programs. You stupid Demonrats will be responsible for this nonsense when all Soc Security benefits are chopped in HALF in 2013.

    December 22, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. ballgame

    bring it all down MAN was the battle cry of left,GOOD JOB ! mission complete! Happy Day!Happy Day!

    December 22, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. GuyinVA

    @ Dominican mama 4 Obama:
    "... a favorite Right-wing pastime." And so you reply with a favorite leftist delusion. Their misguided idea of "fairness" and the belief that the oh-so-tolerant left (champions of freedom, defenders of liberty, stander-uppers for the little guy) is endowed with the inalienable right to decide what everyone NEEDS. You know NEEDS? Like that favorite Marxist saying "From each according to his ability, to each according to his NEEDS." Typical leftists. Throw a temper tantrum because "I WANNA TAX SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!" Tax those mean old rich people, because everyone knows they don't NEED the money... they (for the most part) just EARNED it.

    I hope you get to read this. Every time I respond to one of CNN's favorite lefties, I get "moderated" out of the discussion. Free speech and all, you know. Diversity of opinion. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised.

    December 22, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. Marcus

    lost111 – Still using the 'sky is falling' anti-immigration (with a Nazi flavor in the middle) rant in order to prove your points. Let's see if you can understand it:
    - The current presidency is establishing records of deportation of illegal immigrants, records of resources used against illegal immigration and is enforcing every law (that is not unconstitutional) about the matter. You may not like it, just don't think that we can believe in your word even after checking if you are right or (as you actually are) wrong.
    - You're not Goebbels, spread lies in order to make valid a putrid ideal is much harder these days. It works within those who don't have more than one (biased) source of data, those who have more than one are immune.

    December 22, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  25. One and Done Is Looking More Like

    Four More Years,

    Good job, Mr. President

    December 22, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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