TRANSCRIPT: ABC News Exclusive Interview with President Barack Obama

OBAMA: You know, I think that they are convinced that I am doing everything I can. But they want to see results. And if they are not seeing results on the jobs front, which is the thing that people feel most acutely, most immediately -- their neighbors, their friends, themselves seeing their hours cut or their -- their jobs at risk, then, you know, they're going to hold me -- rightly -- responsible. And they're going to hold Congress appropriately responsible and they're going to hold their respective governors responsible. So, you know, look, we were dealt a tough hand and I think everybody understands that. But ultimately, it's my job to dig us out of this hole. And we are going to keep working

OBAMA: As hard as we can to make the best decisions possible so that we get this economy back on the right footing.

TAPPER: You're about to go to Fort Hood. I know the investigation is -- is early.

OBAMA: Right.

TAPPER: But ABC News has learned that, according to government officials, Major Hasan, through the Internet, had contacted some al Qaeda-affiliated groups. Intelligence services knew about this, passed it onto military intelligence -- I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't know -- but there doesn't seem to have been any action taken by the military. Without getting into specifics, are you concerned, based on what you know about the case at Fort Hood, that the government was not talking to itself the way that, after 9/11, we tried to ensure it would?

OBAMA: Here -- here are the two things I can say right now. Number one, we are all heartbroken by what happened at Fort Hood. And, you know, I'll be heading to there tomorrow so that I can personally express the incredible heartbreak that we all feel for -- for the loss of these young men and women.

The second thing I can absolutely commit to is that we are going to complete this investigation and we are going to take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again. Beyond that, I think it's important for me to let the investigation play itself out so that we know exactly what happened, when it happened, how it happened before -- before I, as president of the United States, comment on it.

TAPPER: Philosophically, what separates an act of violence from an act of terrorism?

OBAMA: Well, look, we -- we have seen, in the past, rampages of this sort. And in a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable. Even within the extraordinary military that we have -- and I think everybody understands how outstanding the young men and women in uniform are under the most severe stress -- there are going to be instances in which an individual cracks.

I think the questions that we're asking now and we don't have yet complete answers to is, is this an individual who's acting in this way or is it some larger set of actors? You know, what are the motivations? Those are all questions that I think we have to ask ourselves. Until we have these answers buttoned down, I'd rather not comment on it.

TAPPER: You're about to make a final decision about the new strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


TAPPER: What variables play into your decision-making that would cause you to not just take General McChrystal's recommendation and implement it?

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