Since winning the election, Obama has become privy to classified daily intelligence briefings. "We have made progress in certain areas but those dangers are still there. And those dangers are not going to immediately go away because we're not talking about conventional armies where we have very clear measures of what their capacity is."
On the nature of the briefings, Obama said, "Most of what I've learned are things that I've anticipated, partly because I was in the Senate and although I wasn't on the intelligence committee we would get top secret briefings. So there hasn't been something that was eye popping. But the situation still requires vigilance."
Obama opened up about his upcoming inauguration address. "I think that the main task for me in an inauguration speech, and I think this is true for my presidency generally, is to try to capture as best I can the moment that we are in it... This is the crossroad that we're at. And then to project confidence that if we take the right measures that we can once again be that country, that beacon for the world."
"My focus is to try to be able to describe in simple, plain terms, the challenges we face, but then also to let people know I have every intention of working with the American people so that we meet those challenges."
Obama has been drawing inspiration for his address from his predecessors, Lincoln in particular. "Every time you read that second inaugural, you start getting intimidated, especially because it's really short. You know, there's a genius to Lincoln that is not going to be matched. People then point to Kennedy's inauguration speech. Sorenson and Kennedy together did an extraordinary job. Some of the others are not as inspiring," he said.
The Obama family moved to DC last week and while the President-elect said his two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, are adapting nicely to their new surroundings.
"I'm trying to figure out why it is that they don't seemed to be fazed by anything. People think -- you know, folks think I'm cool, they are a lot cooler than I am. They just don't seem to be intimidated," Obama said.
But several questions about their lives in Washington remain unanswered. In part because of the demands of the presidential campaign and the furor surrounding his former Pastor Jeremiah Wright, Obama has been without a worship community for about a year.
Obama acknowledges that he misses it.
"It's been a difficult time," he said. "Now, I've got a wonderful community of people who are praying for me every day, and they call me up and -- you know, but it's not the same as going to church and the choir's going and you get this feeling."
Obama said he and his wife Michelle will be visiting churches in Washington, D.C.
"It is tougher as president," Obama said. "You know, this is not just an issue of going to church, it's an issue of going anywhere. You don't want to subject your fellow church members, the rest of the congregation, to being magged every time you go to church. And so, we're going to try to be balancing, not being disruptive to the city, but also saying we want to be part of Washington D.C.," he said.