President Barack Obama spoke publicly about the WikiLeaks incident for the first time today, expressing concern about the disclosure of tens of thousands of documents, but at the same time, downplaying the content.
“While I’m concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact is, these documents don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan. Indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review of our policy last fall,” Mr. Obama said.
The President reminded reporters in the Rose Garden that that policy review led to a substantial increase in troops and a strategy that he believes can lead to victory.
“Now we have to see that strategy through. And as I told the leaders, I hope the House will act today to join the Senate, which voted unanimously in favor of this funding, to ensure that our troops have the resources they need and that we’re able to do what’s necessary for our national security,” the President said.
The House is expected to vote today on a war funding bill for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The President spoke after one of a series of regularly scheduled meetings with Congressional leaders from both parties – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader John Boehner, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
In addition to the war funding bill, the President said also urged both parties to pass the small business aid bill. The President heads to Edison, NJ tomorrow, where he will hold a roundtable discussion with local business owners, as part of a larger series of trips focused on the economy.
Mr. Obama pledged to keep pushing for broader energy reform including a climate change regulation component, despite last week’s setbacks on the Hill with Senate Democrats abandoning climate change legislation.
“The Senate is now poised to act before the August recess, advancing legislation to respond to the BP oil spill and create new clean-energy jobs. That legislation is an important step in the right direction, but I want to emphasize it’s only the first step. And I intend to keep pushing for broader reform, including climate legislation.”
The President said he also urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow judicial nominees to be confirmed. Mr. Obama expressed his frustration over a number of nominees who have been voted out of committee, but have not been allowed to begin service because they have yet to have a full vote in the Senate. The President accused “some in the minority” of using “parliamentary procedures time and again” to hold up these nominations.