Transcript: President Barack Obama

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you're – have some of your allies made it easier for -- handed your opponents some ammunition, like ACORN, for example...

OBAMA: Well, look, the -- you know, I think that -- are there folks in the Democratic camp or on the left who haven't -- haven't always operated ways that I'd appreciate?

Absolutely.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congress has just cut off...

OBAMA: Is -- is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...all funding for ACORN.

OBAMA: It's...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you for that?

OBAMA: Is that true on the other side, as well?

Of course that's true.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the funding for ACORN?

OBAMA: You know, if -- frankly, it's not really something I've followed closely. I didn't even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Both the Senate and the House have voted to cut it off.

OBAMA: You know, what I know is, is that what I saw on that video was certainly inappropriate and deserves to be investigated.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not committing to -- to cut off the federal funding?

OBAMA: George, this is not the biggest issue facing the country. It's not something I'm paying a lot of attention to.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Afghanistan is a big issue facing the country right now.

OBAMA: That is a big issue. That's worth talking about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were for a flexible time line in Iraq. Some people now are saying that's exactly what should happen in Afghanistan if the same conditions hold.

Do you agree with that?

OBAMA: Here's what I think. When we came in, basically, there had been drift in our Afghan strategy. Everybody acknowledges that. And I ordered a top to bottom review. The most important thing I wanted was us to refocus on why we're there. We're there because al Qaeda killed 3,000 Americans and we cannot allow extremists who want to do violence to the United States to be able to operate with impunity.

Now, I think we've lost -- we lost that focus for a while and you started seeing a – a classic case of mission creep where we're just there and we start taking on a whole bunch of different missions.

I wanted to narrow it. I did order 21,000 additional troops there to make sure that we could secure the election, because I thought that was important. That was before the review was completed. I also said after the election I want to do another review. We've just gotten those 21,000 in. General McChrystal, who's only been there a few months, has done his own assessment.

I am now going to take all this information and we're going to test whatever resources we have against our strategy, which is if by sending young men and women into harm's way, we are defeating al Qaeda and -- and that can be shown to a skeptical audience, namely me -- somebody who is always asking hard questions about deploying troops, then we will do what's required to keep the American people safe.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no final decision. I just have one -- one last question...

OBAMA: Now, the -- the only thing I want to say, though, is -- is that what we – I just want to make sure that everybody understands that you don't make decisions about resources before you have the strategy ready.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I just have time for one final question.

I'm sure you know the story about John Kennedy's first summit with Nikita Khrushchev back in his first year in office.

OBAMA: Yes.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...