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Obama to ABC News: Somalia Rescue Made Me Think of Own Daughters

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Obama on Thursday expressed sympathy with the father of the American hostage rescued by Navy SEALs Tuesday, saying the ordeal made him think of his own daughters.

“I cannot imagine what he went through – given Malia and Sasha – and for him to be able to stay strong and then for our incredible men and women in uniform to do what they do, it makes you proud about this country,” Obama told ABC’s Diane Sawyer.

The president said he had not spoken to Jessica Buchanan, who was held hostage for three months, but said it was important for him that she connected with her father.

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Obama on Thursday revealed new details of the Navy SEAL operation, which was going on as he was making his State of the Union speech.

“On this one, they were moving so fast that I actually had to give the order and the directions and then they were out,” he said. “It was not a situation where I could actually talk to the folks who were directing the operation, and it was still ongoing while were in the middle of the State of the Union speech.”

Watch World News tonight at 6:30 p.m. EST for Diane Sawyer’s interview with President Obama.

Before he made his speech, the president was seen telling Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta “good job” in reference to the Navy Seal operation.

“He does a good job generally, but we were very specifically referring to the operation in Somalia because at that time we knew that she had already been recovered along with the Danish hostage and they weren’t yet back to Djibouti — the American base — but we knew at that point that they were safe and that everybody had successfully achieved the mission,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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