Obama says 2013 wasn’t worst of presidency

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WASHINGTON -- Citing economic progress and other achievements, President Barack Obama on Friday rejected the contention that 2013 was the worst year of his presidency.

Polls show Obama's approval rating at record lows for the five years of his presidency, but he told reporters at a year-end news conference that his concern is whether things are getting better for the American people.

"If you're measuring this by polls, my polls have gone up and down a lot through the course of my career," Obama said. "If I was interested in polling, I wouldn't have run for president."

Instead, the President cited continuing economic growth after the recession he inherited when he took office in January 2009 and other progress such as what he said was more than 1 million people signing up for health insurance under the controversial reforms he championed.

"That is a big deal. That's why I ran for this office," Obama said.

He acknowledged the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website in October caused "great frustration," but Obama rejected Republican claims that the overall reform law passed in 2010 was failing and should be dismantled.

Obama frustration

Another frustration cited by the President was the inability to get any of his main legislative priorities of 2013 passed by Congress, and he called for 2014 to be a "year of action" on immigration reform, job creation, expanded background checks on gun purchasers and extending long-term unemployment benefits.

"We head into next year with an economy that's stronger than it was at the start of the year," Obama said. "I firmly believe that 2014 can be a breakthrough year for America."

Noting a compromise budget agreement recently passed by Congress after two years of partisan impasses on government spending, Obama said that "it's probably too early to declare an outbreak of bipartisanship, but it's fair to say we're not condemned to endless gridlock" that led to the 16-day government shutdown in October.

Asked about the next big fiscal decision to be made by Congress early next year, Obama again repeated his position that he will not negotiate with lawmakers -- especially Congressional Republicans -- over raising the nation's debt ceiling.

"No, we're not going to negotiate for Congress to pay bills that it has accrued," he said. "It is not a negotiating tool."

President Obama addresses the media Friday, December 20, 2013, before leaving for a vacation in Hawaii.

President Obama addresses the media Friday, December 20, 2013, before leaving for a vacation in Hawaii.

NSA snooping

Obama also said he would make "a pretty definitive" decision in January on recommendations from an independent panel this week calling for changes in National Security Agency surveillance to protect civil liberties.

He defended government collection of electronic communications revealed through leaks from Edward Snowden. But the President added that "what is also clear from the public debate, people are concerned about the possibility of abuse."

He acknowledged American trust in NSA spying "has been diminished" but he added "what's going to be important is to build that up," referring to that confidence.

He said U.S. citizens are concerned about their phone calls being listened to.

"This is only going to work if the American people have confidence and trust," he said. "Yes, these are tough problems that I am glad that I have the privilege to tackle."

Obama said there has been no alleged instances of the NSA acting inappropriately in the use of data.

The President says he has confidence that the NSA is "not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around."

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  • Steve T.

    Yup, 2014 won’t be any different from the last 5 years. If anything you will make it worse Mr. President. Keep up the not so good work!

  • DR Commish

    Narcissism…Mental disorder characterized by extreme self-absorption, an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and a need for attention and admiration from others.
    I think that pretty much sums this guy up.

  • ColoNativeRN

    ….Obummer is so self absorbed, and has a twisted view of what success is. Hell, he and ALL the losers that voted for his re election stupidly thought he had 4 good years….
    This squatter at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, and ALl his loser supporters won’t be happy until they have completely distroyed this country!
    RUDOPLH has it right….. then worst is YET TO COME!

  • Gina

    upto I saw the receipt which was of $4959, I didnt believe …that…my mom in-law really receiving money parttime from their laptop.. there best friend had bean doing this for only about 16 months and just repayed the morgage on their condo and got Fiat Multipla. see this page e……. http://tiny.tw/3f5o

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