President Obama Doesn't Think ISIS Is 'Gaining Strength'

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos sits down with the president.
3:50 | 11/13/15

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Transcript for President Obama Doesn't Think ISIS Is 'Gaining Strength'
Fight against sizes front and center in my exclusive than even President Obama yesterday. When we spoke in the cabinet room shortly before the strike the president knowledge how did think it will be to eliminate the threat from that deadly terror group. Even your friendly critics free Jakarta says that what you have on the ground now is not going to be enough. Every couple months you're going to be faced the same choice back down or double down. I think what is true is that this is always. Been a multiyear project precisely because. The governance structures and Sunni areas of Iraq are weak and there are none. In Syria and we don't have ground forces there. In. In sufficient numbers to simply march and a rocker and Syria and clean the whole place out and as a consequence we've always understood that our goal past of the militarily constraining. Parcells capabilities. Cutting off their supply lines cutting off their financing and that ice is he screenings strings are involved I don't think they're gaining strength what is true is that. From the start our goal has been first to contain. And we have contentment they have not gained ground or not Iraq and in Syria. It don't come in don't leave. But you don't see this systematic march by our soul across the terrain. What we have not yet been able to do is to completely. Decapitate. Their command and control structures. We've made some progress in. Trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters as part of our goal has to be to recruit more effective Sunni partners. In Iraq to really go on offense rather than simply. Engage and if so what do you think when he hears someone like Ben Carson get a debate today this would be easy. We can take nice allowed just by bombing their oil fields here on by that's a general told him. There what it what I think is that. If she doesn't know much about it and look. George I think it's fair to served. Over the last several years I've had accessed. All the best military minds in the country and all the best foreign policy minds in the country. And I'm not runner for office and so my only interest is in success. And if I'm down in the situation room talking with people who have worked in the as these regions and have run a major. Military operations. From the chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph down for two. You know individuals like general Allen who. Was involved and Iraqi operations back in 20072008. And they don't think it's easy that is probably not he's and what we've been able to do is to shape. A strategy that first and foremost contained. Momentum that I so that gained but until we get the Syria political. Situation resolved. Sentence until Assad is no longer a lightning rod for Sunnis and Syria. And do that entire region is no longer a proxy war for. Shia Sunni conflict we're gonna continue to have problems are contained as an eruption well. That I would distinguish between making sure that the place is perfect that's not gonna happen anytime soon. Where making sure that I soul. Continues to shrink and its scope of operations until. It no longer poses the kind of threat that it does. Not not just primarily to us but to neighbors in the region like a Jordan or Saudi Arabia and that the humanitarian crisis that's taking place worth millions of people. Who are fleeing the country but that can be released.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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