Live blog from the presidential news conference
March 11th, 2011
12:33 PM ET
7 years ago

Live blog from the presidential news conference

12:30 p.m. - President Barack Obama took the stage and addressed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Obama said there is a U.S. aircraft carrier in Japan and others on their way. They are working to account for all military personnel stationed there. U.S. embassy personnel in Tokyo have moved to another location, he said.

12:34 p.m. - Obama talked about the "added burden" of rising gas prices.

On oil: “Keep all options on the table when it comes to any supply disruptions.”

12:37 p.m. - Obama said gas prices affect everyone – from businesses to families. He said lost production in Libya has tightened supply, but the global community can withstand supply disruptions like this.

Obama continued by saying we are prepared to tap strategic petroleum reserve if needed, but we are more capable of facing shortages – we use 7 percent less oil than in 2005 because we are adapting and our economy is more efficient.

12:39 p.m.
- Obama said that in December Democrats and Republicans came together to pass a payroll tax cut that is helping the economy and creating jobs. He said "it should help to act as a cushion" to the rising gas prices. He said the tax cut should total about $1,000 a year for most Americans.

12:40 p.m. - Obama said the U.S. needs to continue the domestic production of oil and gas – said it reached highest level last year in seven years. He used that figure to rebut GOP claims his administration is not doing enough in terms of domestic production.

12:41 p.m. - Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) tweeted this message to the president 12 hours ago: "Mr.Pres: pls don't tell us tomorrow we'll rely on OPEC to make up oil shortfalls;we're blessed w/rich US sources.Long term solution? Tap 'em."

Without acknowledging her question, Obama just said that is not a long term solution.

12:44 p.m. - NBC's Chuck Todd started with a question on Libya. He asked Obama if he is prepared to use any means necessary to get Col. Gadhafi to leave.

Obama responded to Todd's question: "…across the board we are slowly tightening the noose…"

12:48 p.m. - Obama said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with the opposition in Libya in the next several days. He said he thought it was important to assign a representative who's specific role is to interact with the opposition, adding that the administration "moved about as swiftly as any international coalition has moved as far as sanctions."

The president reinforced all options are on the table in coordination with the international coalition.

12:49 p.m.
- NBC Todd's follow-up: Are you concerned Gadhafi with more firepower will win this standoff with the rebels? Obama: "I am concerned, absolutely."

12:50 p.m.
- Mimi Hall of USA Today asked Obama about the three week Continuing Resolution in Congress and about Gadhafi leaving.

On Libya Obama said when it comes to U.S. military actions, you need to balance costs and benefits. He said the desired outcome is that Gadhafi steps down.

12:52 p.m. - @wolfblitzercnn: Obama says he's assigning a US official to stay in "close consultation" with #Libya opposition.

12:57 p.m. - On the current budget standoff on 2011 budget, Obama said he is in close contact with leaders of both parties of Congress.

He said both sides need to compromise on "prudent" cuts somewhere between what both parties have put forward. "It shouldn't be that complicated," he said.

Obama said there may be one more short-term extension, but repeated his mantra that we can't run the budget based on short term extensions. He said there are certain things the House GOP will put forward that he won't be able to accept – he used Pell Grants as example, but said "we've got to live within our means."

He also took issue with riders attached to the budget passed by the House GOP. He said he prefers not using the budget to sneak things in to promote a political agenda.

12:59 p.m. - ABC's Jake Tapper said he can't recall a time when the U.S. ever had to rush assistance to a nuclear power plant in another country. How serious is this? And a follow up question about Pentagon's treatment of Patrick Manning connected to WikiLeaks.

1:01 p.m. - Chip Reid of CBS cited an interview of Ghadafi's son where he said they will crush resistance – asked: can the U.S. stand by and watch?

1:03 p.m.
- Obama said U.S. has an obligation to prevent something like the Balkans and Rwanda genocides of the 90's. He said we have to look at what happens on a case by case basis.

He said Gadhafi's family will be held accountable for any atrocities they commit.

1:05 p.m. - CBS's Reid follows up on whether Clapper made a mistake in testimony yesterday on Gadhafi's capability and likelihood to prevail.

"He was making a hard headed" assessment about capability, he "wasn't stating policy," Obama said.

But Obama was quick to point out policy is set by him as president. Obama said Gadhafi is on wrong side of history.

1:05 p.m.
- Zachary Goldfarb with The Washington Post asked a question about tapping SPR (U.S. strategic petroleum oil reserves): What targets do we need to hit to get to that point, gas prices etc.?

President Obama said he won't answer that... Gets into historical rhetoric about the issue.

1:07 p.m.
- A little over 30 minutes into presser – so far Obama's answered questions from five reporters, two print reporters and three television reporters. It's interesting he hasn't called on the wire reporters – they are usually the first ones to be called on.

1:09 p.m. - Continuing on gas prices, Obama said the American people feel this pretty acutely… money out of my pocket so to speak. He said some of the steps the U.S. is taking are making a difference. He added that the administration will try to do everything they can not only to stabilize the market… if there's price gouging they're going to go after that. If they see disruptions or shifts that are so disconcerting to people than they'll consider tapping the SPR.

1:11 p.m. - In response to Goldfarb's second question about economic growth – Obama said economic growth continues on a positive track… seen the unemployment rate drop a full point.

"So overall I'm positive about the fact that we're moving slowly but surely into positive job growth" over the next several months. He said he's still concerned about the housing market.

1:15 p.m. - Obama said on economy overall that the last jobs report showed growth in the private industry as strong. He said there were some lost jobs in state and local government (teachers, policeman, firefighters laid off) and that it's very important when we think about budget to understand our long term debt and deficits are not caused by having Head Start teachers in the classroom... it's caused by Medicare costs instead.

He said budget cutters shouldn't be going after things like funding for Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

1:18 p.m. - Obama called on a foreign journalist for the 6th question. He asked what message is in his discussions with leaders in the Middle East.

Obama said the U.S. believes in peaceful protests and use of violence in response that.

Also he said it is in the interest of the region to reform itself so that each person's talents can be harnessed. He said each country is different, but this process can be a great opportunity for the region to see more economic growth.

1:19 p.m. - Obama took a question – after he said he had answered his last question – from an Asahi reporter (Japanese newspaper) – asked for his personal response to the tragedy and if the U.S. is ready to provide assistance. President said yes and that the U.S. will immediately help with lift capacity... said he's "heartbroken."

1:21 p.m.
- Obama called on seven reporters in 48 minutes (including his opening statement).

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    On oil: “Keep all options on the table when it comes to any supply disruptions.”
    Sounds like another "present" vote from our fearful leader. Translation: We're not going to do anything.

    Higher gas and oil prices fit right in with his "green" agenda. Only problem is that policy takes the "green" out of all of our wallets and places it in the hands of foreign countries or the federal government.

    This clown is such a failure on just about every front it is a disgrace. This country is without a viable leader since he has shown NO LEADERSHIP SKILLS WHATSOEVER.

    March 11, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    why cant families go back to 1 car households? thats what we did 4 years ago...try public trans or walking etc...we live in the northeast with no actual public trans but we make it work!

    March 11, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Are we considering fuel resources that are working well for Brazil? Sugar cane fuel.

    March 11, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. mbs

    "Without acknowledging her question, Obama just said that is not a long term solution."

    How is that not a long term solution? Utilizing this country's resources to provide for our energy needs, until alternative sources are developed sufficiently to take over. Yes, that is a long term solution.

    March 11, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Howard

    More platitudes, empty rhetoric and misinformation, to support his misguided policies. He tells us to live within our means, when he wants to raise the debt ceiling, print more money, sell off public lands, and squander trillions more. In the meantime, Americans are beginning to experience, first hand, higher prices for everything, and an economy which is circling the bowl, thanks to Barack Obama's horrible policies. Obama is systematically dismantling our constitution, our economy, and our national defense.

    March 11, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Mikel Walker

    Our country is in need of leadership. We are to worried about scoring political points than coming together to solve common problems. We must set aside our differences and govern. Please hear the voice of the people and make dicission to help us not your political careers (Dems and Pep).

    March 11, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. saywhhhhhat

    lost production hasnt tightened supply, demand is at a record low, in addition saudi arabia has already been producing more to compensate for any that libya isnt producing, so try again

    March 11, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. genie 4

    I know our president does see we have a lot goin on but we cnt help everybody right now we already have 2 wars we need 2 get out of...our econmy is way worse then other countrys its just that the united states need 2 leave libya alone & let libya deal wit there own problems ....we need help here let the other countries deal wit there mess..

    March 11, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. harold

    All the Hawks want the U.S. to use force and get Gadhafi out. They don't talk about the cost and what it will do to the deficit. Why? Because they will claim the increase is due to Obama's liberal policies. Didn't here the outcry when this was happening in the Congo?? Why, Because they don't have oil and those killed were just a bunch of Blacks. The good old U.S. of A. Oh yea, I did served in the Army so I "earned" the right to this opinion!!

    March 11, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Canadian Mom

    About today and those who have sufferred....I think Obama should put his ego aside just for onece and frankly who care about "gaps" in mideast oil supply on a day like today where Japan looks like an apocalype and possibly his own citizen could be at risk....really Obama give yourself a shake and don't talk about those children and teachers who are at risk of loosng their jobs but focus more on those poor children, teachers, parents, businesses that have been least know enough to get off the air....frankly its appaling to hear you!

    May God and much love and support be with all those affected .....

    March 11, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. SaraJ

    Obama is so full of bull. He has no intenison of helping Americans regarding prices of gas. Can' wait to vote in 2012.

    March 11, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. willard bullock

    I am caught that people are banned harrssment to sarah plain please please people must stop rude to sarah about lipstick cause obama was fault trouble banned rude to sarah about lipstick so why people like word learned lipstick from obama so obama must stay out of his presdient
    I am keep pray god with sarah plain maybe she will be great work her presdient 2012

    March 11, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Mikel Walker

    Mr. President, I thank you for not rushing into Libya because we have ended on the wrong side of history concerning the Iraq war (let clearer heads prevail). But what are you going to do concerning the war on unions? We need your voice and leadership.

    March 11, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Get A Grip

    "across the board we are slowly tightening the noose…"........"noose" Oblamer used the word "noose" I didn't think we were allowed to use these kinds of words....oh, I forgot, Oblamer is black so it's ok, but don't any white people use the word "noose" because that would be "racist"

    March 11, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. classitup10

    I watch the president on television
    the television is in my room
    therefore, my eyes are my room

    March 11, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. luthor

    Terrible Tragedy. Lets hope situation improves. Times like this am proud of America. We are there for our friends and our friends are always there for us. Thank you Mr. President

    March 11, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Howard


    Obama says America only sits on 2% of the world's oil supply.

    The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska 's Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates it at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable... at $107 a barrel, we're looking at a resource base worth more than $5...3 trillion

    March 11, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. mattie richardson

    Please people of America stop fighting the president. Leave him alone and support him he is trying to do the job for this country that the all mighty God has place him to do. Get on your needs and pray I warn America please do not make God angry

    March 11, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Ronnie

    Good for the President for telling the lazy republicans tea terrorist to get off their duffs and get a real budget passed.
    If the republican tea terrorist want to close the govenment then just do it but you will pay for it next year during the elections.

    March 11, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. a2rjr

    "Blah, blah, blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,blah. I don't have a clue. I'm not even on par with Jimmy Carter. I couldn't tell the truth if I new it." BHO

    March 11, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Stephen

    "Obama said the U.S. believes in peaceful protests and use of violence in response that."

    This needs a proofreader. Surely, Obama doesn't believe in a violent response to peaceful protests......

    March 11, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. George

    On gas prices what I heard is America suck it up and live with it.

    March 11, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. abdullah

    Comments: Introducing the Libyan Interim Transitional National Council of Libyan Republic This is the only legitimate representative of the all Libyan people. The council derives it legitimacy from the decisions of local councils set up by the revolutionary people of Libya on the 17th of February. These local councils facilitated a mechanism to manage daily life in the liberated cities and villages. The council consists of thirty one members representing the various cities of Libya from the east to the west and from the north to the south. The aim of the Transitional National Council is to steer Libya during the interim period that will come after its complete liberation and the destruction of Gaddafi’s oppressive regime. It will guide the country to free elections, democracy and the establishment of a constitution for Libya.
    The Council members representing all Libyan cities. Few have not been disclosed due to security reasons. The council has nominated representatives from most Libyan cities and regions including Tripoli.` The Council notes that it is the only legitimate body representing the people of Libya and the Libyan state and calls on all the countries of the world to recognise it and deal with it on the basis of international legitimacy. The Council also notes that it will honour and respect all international and regional agreements signed by the former Libyan government, emphasizing its aspirations in seeing Libya play a significant role in the establishing international peace and security.
    The Council also stresses that the heads of envoys and Libya’s representatives in the UN, the Arab League and all international and regional organisations, and our embassies and diplomatic missions who have joined this revolution are the legitimate representatives of this Council in these places. Most Libyan diplomatics have transferred their affiliation with this Council.
    The Council will seek to maintain peace and security in the liberated cities with all its strength. It will also plan and work towards liberating the remaining cities still kidnapped by the tyrant Mu’ammar Gaddafi and his gang. Here, we call on all the people of the world to participate in achieving these lofty goals through the commitment to the noble Libyan ethics and by prioritising our country before the self.
    Long live Libya free and dignified.
    At this critical time for the people of Libya we call for all the world, Countries, International organisations and institutions must recognise the Libyan Interim Transitional National Council of Libyan Republic

    March 11, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Dale

    Job creation in the United States made in America will not happen, the unions will see to that.

    March 11, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Eric

    LOL @ Palin's Tweet. "Tap 'em" is that their official replacement slang for "Drill Baby Drill"???

    March 11, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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