"I have now been in office five years, close to five years, was running for president for two years before that, and for those who've covered me during that time, we have had ups and we have had downs," said Obama at the White House Friday. Still, the American president said that, with regards to the healthcare rollout, “we screwed it up.” A vital web portal that many Americans have and will use to sign up for health insurance under Obama’s universal coverage has been marred by glitches and crashes. He took note of continued economic growth, however, and stated that he believes that next year “can be a breakthrough year for America.” Regarding a potential battle with congress over raising America’s debt limit, he said, “The debt ceiling is raised simply to pay bills that we have already accrued; it is not something that is a negotiating tool. It's not leverage. It's the responsibility of Congress; it's part of doing their job. I expect them to do their job, although I'm happy to talk to them about any of the issues that they actually want to get done.
Obama to issue NSA statement in January
Following an independent review of the NSA’s spying program, Obama said that he would make a “pretty definitive statement” in January on potential reforms.
“The question we're going to have to ask is: can we accomplish the same goals that this program is intended to accomplish in ways that give the public more confidence that, in fact, the NSA is doing what it's supposed to be doing,” said Obama.
He continued to voice support for the bulk collection of phone call metadata, however.
“What I've said in the past continues to be the case, which is that the NSA, in executing this program, believed, based on experiences from 9/11, that it was important for us to be able to track, if there was a phone number of a known terrorist outside of the United States calling into the United States, where that call might have gone and that having that data in one place and retained for a certain period of time allowed them to be confident in pursuing various investigations of terrorist threats,” he said.
Possibility for deal with Iran
In the wake of a hard-won interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers over Iran’s nuclear program Obama said that an end may be in sight to a diplomatic obstacle that has stymied Washington for over a decade.
“We now have a structure in which we can have a very serious conversation to see, is it possible for Iran to get right with the international community in a verifiable fashion to give us all confidence that any peaceful nuclear program that they have is not going to be weaponized in a way that threatens us or our allies in the region, including Israel,” said Obama. He again stated that now is not the time for new sanctions.