Quick Hits from President Obama’s Surprise News Conference

Here are some of the highlights from the President’s news conference today, in case you missed it. Please excuse typos.


(States the economy is showing record improvement}

On executive authority and illegal immigration:

(States that he will continue to use his executive authority to accomplish his goals without Congress, including on the illegal immigration crisis.)

On the crisis in the Mideast:

I unequivocally condemned Hamas…if they [Hamas] are serious about trying to resolve that situation, that [captive Israeli] soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible.

Israel has a right to defend itself…no country can or would tolerate tunnels being dug under their land that can be used to launch terrorist attacks.

At the same time… innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience and we have to do what we can to protect them.

On the one hand, Israel has a right to defend itself…on the other hand, because of the incredibly irresponsible actions on the part of Hamas to often house these rockets launchers right in the middle of these civilian neighborhoods we end up seeing people who had nothing to do with these rockets end up being hurt.

Has the U.S lost its influence in the world? (from CBS’ Bill Plante)

Apparently, people have forgotten that American as the most powerful country on earth still does not control everything around the world. Our diplomatic efforts often take time. They often will see progress and then a step backwards. That’s been true in the Middle East, it’s been true in Europe and Asia, that’s the nature of world affairs.

[To Russian leader Putin, if he continues his behavior in Ukraine] You’re going to face consequences that will hurt your country… Each time we have done what we said we would do.

[Israel-Palestinian conflicts have been going on] even longer than you’ve been reporting.

Our job is to just make sure that we continue to project what’s right and what’s just…

The nature of being president is you’re always asking yourself what more you can do.

Do you hold yourself blameless in Republican inability to reach agreement in the House?

(If we grant limited amnesty and fix legal immigration system so it’s more efficient, attract talented students, it will improve economy and reduce deficit.)

So the argument isn’t between me and the House Republicans, it’s between the House Republicans and the Senate Republicans, House Republicans and the business community, the House Republicans and the evangelical community. I’m just one of the people that seems to disagree with them on this issue (that’s the long term immigration bill).

[On the short term immigration bill.] That’s a disagreement between the House Republicans and the House Republicans.

I’m gonna have to act alone…we’ve run out of money…and we are going to have to reallocate resources in order to make sure some of the basic functions that have to take place there…that those things get done. We’re going to have to reallocate some resources.

[If Republicans don’t like it] the easiest way to solve that is pass some legislation.

[There are legitimate policy difference. On taxes…Republicans want to maintain corporate loopholes. On health care, their view is that we should not be helping folks get health care even though it’s through the private marketplace…] Those are legitimate policy arguments. But getting our ambassadors confirmed, these are career diplomats…making sure we pass legislation to strengthen our borders…those shouldn’t be controversial.

Hamas Tunnels into Israel

[Israelis are right that tunnel networks need to be dismantled, but while still reducing the bloodshed. Children and defenseless women are getting killed, Israeli’s lives are constantly disrupted and they’re having to live in fear.]

John Brennan & improper CIA search of Senate computers

(Re: CIA employees improperly searching the computers of Senate Intelligence Committee investigators, looking through their files and emails.)

I have full confidence in John Brennan, (he has apologized to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it’s clear from Inspector General report some very poor judgment was exercised). [Brennan] has already stood up a task force to make sure lessons are learned and mistakes are resolved.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong…we tortured some folks…I understand why it happened…

Ebola outbreak

This is something we take very seriously…this has been a more aggressive Ebola outbreak than we’ve seen in the past…the CDC and our various health agencies are going to be working very intently with the World Health Organization to make sure we can surge some resources down there to some countries that are pretty poor…so that we can start containing the problem. [Ebola is not easily transmitted, outbreaks traditionally dissipate.]



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