President’s Final News Conference of 2013

By Chris Ariens 

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President Obama held his final news conference of 2013 “The most wonderful press conference of the year,” he joked. The broadcast and cable news networks all carried the president’s remarks and the newser.

The president began talking about the growing economy, end-of-the-year congressional compromise and thanked the military for their “service and sacrifice.”

“Jay [Carney] prepared a list of who’s naughty and nice. We’ll see who made it,” said the president as he took questions from:

Julie Pace, the AP, asked whether, given his low approval numbers, “Has this been the worst year of your presidency?” “I got to tell you, Julie, that’s not how I think about it,” said the president.

Mark Felsenthal of Reuters got the second question and asked about the NSA and revelations throughout the year of the extent of surveillance.

Ed Henry of Fox News got the third question and asked further about the NSA, and whether the president had underestimated and was unaware of the scope of the surveillance programs. The president and Henry sparred a bit before the president moved on to…

Jon Karl of ABC News got question four and asked about the poll numbers and asked the president what his biggest mistake has been of 2013. “There’s no doubt that when it came to the healthcare rollout… the fact is it didn’t happen in a way that was at all acceptable. Since I’m in charge, we screwed it up.”

“I promise you, I probably beat myself up even worse than you or Ed Henry does on any given day. But, I’ve also got to wake up in the morning and make sure that I do better the next day.”

Brianna Keiler of CNN was next and asked about the debt ceiling and whether the president would negotiate with congressional Republicans. ” “Oh Brianna, you know the answer to this question,” said the president. “No, we’re not going negotiate for a congress to pay bills that it has accrued.” Keiler got a follow-up asking the president what his New Year’s resolution is.

“My resolution is to be nicer to the White House press corps.”

Major Garrett of CBS News got the sixth question and asked whether NSA leaker Edward Snowden might be considered for “a plea agreement or amnesty.”

Chuck Todd of NBC News asked the 7th question about whether Americans should have confidence in the healthcare law considering it keeps changing.

Phil Mattingly of Bloomberg asked the president why he isn’t attending the Olympic Games in Sochi. “I would love to do it. I’ll be going to a lot of Olympic games post-presidency.”

Ari Shapiro, his last day at the White House for NPR, got the 9th question and asked about tax reform.

Jackie Calmes of The New York Times asked a long-winded series of questions about healthcare . “I have to say, you’re stringing a bunch of things along here,” said the President. Calmes shot back: “That’s a lot less than Ed Henry had.”

Colleen McCain Nelson of the Wall Street Journal asked the final question about personnel changes at the White House.