Transcript for President Obama Addresses David Petraeus Scandal
We begin with the president. Eight days after his re-election energized and diving straight into the headlines. At his first press conference today, he talked about the scandal that took down the head of the cia, the looming fiscal crisis that could raise taxes for everyone on january 1st and then, he came out swinging in defense of one member of his team and abc's jonathan karl was right there in that room asking questions. Jon? Reporter: Diane, this was a confident president today, eager to lay out his agenda for the coming months, but first, he had to face questions on that scandal that has taken his national security team. In his first comments on the sex scandal that brought down his cia director the president said petraeus failed to meet his own standards, but he also praised him. We are safer because of the work that dave petraeus has done. And my main hope right now is that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career. Reporter: He also addressed the central question --id the scandal put national security at risk? I have no evidence at this point, from what I've seen, that classified information was disclosed that, in any way would have had a nag impact on your national security. Reporter: On those high steaks talks over the looming budget crisis, the president took a hard line on hittom line. Any deficit deal musude tax increaon the wealthy. More voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me. So, we've got a clear majority of the american people who recognize if we're going to be serious about deficit reduction. We're got to do it in a balanced way. Reporter: There was a real flash of presidential anger on the topic of the attack in benghazi. Earlier today, republicans john McCAIN AND LINDSEY GRAHAM LASHED Out at susan rice, the leading candidate to replace secretary of state hillary clinton, because she initially suggested that the attack was a protest. Why would susan rice not get our vote? I don't trust her. Reporter: We put that to the president. Senator graham said he simply doesn't trust ambassador rice after what she said about benghazi. IF senator McCain and senator graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. But for them to go after the u.N. Ambassador, who had nothing to do with benghazi? And to besmirch her reputation? It's outrageous. Reporter: In a blistering response to that, senator graham issued a statement a short while ago, directly to the president, saying, quote, don't think for one minute that I don't hold you responsible. I think you failed as a commander in chief before, during and after the attack. In other words, diane, this battle is just beginning.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.