Entries in News Conference (2)


President Obama Declines to Define Victory in Afghanistan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama said Wednesday that “the tide of war is receding” in Afghanistan, but declined to define what victory in the war-torn country would look like.

Instead, the president told reporters at a White House press conference that the U.S. is being successful in its missions, which he described as being “narrowly drawn” and focused on making sure al Qaeda cannot attack the U.S. and helping Afghans maintain their own security.

Asked about Tuesday’s deadly Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and whether it concerns him that Afghan forces may not be able to step up their game, Obama stressed that “our work is not done.”

“Kabul is much safer than it was, and Afghan forces in Kabul are much more capable than they were. That doesn't mean that there are not going to be events like this potentially taking place.  And that will probably go on for some time,” he said.

The press conference, Obama’s 14th since taking office, comes one week after he announced his strategy to withdraw the 33,000 “surge” troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer, several months earlier than originally anticipated.

"Keep in mind, the drawdown hasn't begun. So we understood that Afghanistan's a dangerous place, that the Taliban is still active and that there are still going to be events like this on occasion," Obama said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Attacks Iran's Gov't, Defends Administration's Voice On Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Pete Souza/The White House (file)(WASHINGTON) -- In his first news conference of the year, President Obama assailed the Iranian government's response to the recent protests that have erupted since the uprising in Egypt overthrew its 30-year-long president, Hosni Mubarak. He said it's "ironic" that the Iranian regime has hailed the Egyptian revolt while suppressing its own protests.

"What's different is the Iranian government response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people," the president said. "My hope and expectation is that we're going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government, understanding that American cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside Iran."

The White House drew some criticism for its measured response in the initial days of the uprising in Egypt, and for not denouncing Mubarak, who refused to step down despite protesters' demands. Mubarak was a longtime ally of the United States who has played a key role in Israel-Palestine negotiations.

The president also defended the U.S. message on Egypt, saying it was consistent.

"We were mindful that it was important for this to remain an Egyptian event, that the United States did not become the issue, but that we sent out a very clear message that we believed in an orderly transition, a meaningful transition, and a transition that needed to happen not later, but sooner, and we were consistent on that message throughout," he said.

While the president hailed the reforms the military is planning to make in Egypt, he expressed concern about stability in the greater Arab world, where the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings have sparked a number of protests, from Jordan to Yemen to Algeria.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio