Nov 14, 2012|
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
This is a CBS news special report a presidential news conference I'm Dan -- in Washington. President Obama was about to take questions from reporters in the ornate east room of the White House. CBS news White House correspondent Peter -- you are there in the front row. A first how rare is it for Barack Obama to have a formal news conference -- all topic. Well let's just say it's been a while -- By some accounts say it's been since August by others it's been eight months depending on how you define a formal news conference. The White House had hoped -- that this one would be the stage for the president to set the agenda for his entire second term but. That soap opera involving the two army generals Petraeus and -- Could very well steal the show since that is of course the story of the day. Mr. Obama will likely defer to be an excuse me ongoing investigations. In his opening statement he's expected to talk ladies and -- economic matters aren't the ongoing ethnic negotiations with congress he'll be meeting with congressional leaders. Coming up on Friday. President Obama now at the podium here is the president of. You know it's better but -- Pepsi. I hear you have some questions for. But. What let me just make a few remarks at the top and then all opened up. First -- -- reiterate what I said on Friday. Right now our economy is still recovering from. A very deep and damaging crisis. So our top priority has to be jobs and growth. We've got to build on the progress that we made. Because this nation succeeds when we got a growing thriving middle class. And that's the idea at the core of the plan but I talked about on the campaign trail last year. -- -- manufacturers. And small businesses to create jobs here not overseas. Providing more Americans the chance to -- the skill the businesses are looking for right now. Keeping this country the forefront of research technology and clean energy. Putting people back to work rebuilding our roads or bridges and our schools. And reducing our deficit in the balanced and responsible way. Now on this last night. We face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs taxes. And deficits by the end of the year. Both parties voted to set this deadline. And I believe that both parties can work together. To make these decisions and a balanced and responsible -- yesterday had a chance to meet with the labor and civic leaders for their input. Today I'm meeting with CEOs of some of America's largest companies. And I'll meet with the leaders of both parties of congress before the week is up. Because there's only one way to solve these challenges that is to do it together. As I've said before I'm open to compromise and I'm open to new ideas. And I've been encouraged over the past week to hear Republican after Republican agree. On the need for no more revenue from the wealthiest Americans as part of our arithmetic if we're gonna be serious about reducing the deficit. Because when it comes to taxes there are two pathway is available. Option one if congress fails to act by the end of this year everybody's taxes will automatically go up. Including the 98% of Americans who make less than 250000. Dollars a year. And the 97% of small businesses who earn less than 250000 miles a year. That doesn't make sense. Our economy can't afford that right now. Certainly no middle class families can afford that right now and nobody in either party says that they want it to happen. The other option is to pass the ball right now that would prevent any attacks like whatsoever on the first 250000. Dollars. Of everybody's income. And by the way that means every American including the wealthiest Americans get a tax cut. It means that 90% of all Americans and 97% of all small businesses. Won't see their taxes go up a single -- The senate has already passed a law like this. Democrats in the house are ready to pass a law like this. And I hope Republicans in the house come on board to. We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the well. We should at least do what we agree on. And that's to keep middle class taxes -- And I'll bring everyone at the -- -- right away so we can give folks some certainty for the -- Macy's. I won't pretend that figuring out everything else will be easy but I'm confident we can do I know we have to. I note that that's what the American people want us to do. That was the very clear message from the election last week and that was the message of a letter that I received. Over the weekend. -- came from a man in Tennessee who began by writing that he didn't vote for which is okay. But. What he said was even though he didn't give me is vote he's giving me his support to move this country for. And he said the same it is Republican representatives in Washington. He said that -- backed each of us. Regardless of party as long as we work together to make life better for all of us. And he made it clear that if we don't make enough progress to be back in touch. So my hope. He wrote is that we can make progress in light of personal and party principles. Special interest groups and years of business as usual. We've got to work together and put our differences aside. I couldn't say it better myself that's precisely what I intend to do. And when that when they open up. For your questions and I'm gonna start off with Ben Feller of -- Thank Mr. President. Can you assure the American people that there have been no breaches of national security -- -- or classified information. In the scandal involving generals Petraeus and -- And do you think the US commander in chief. And the American people should have been told that the CA chief was under investigation before the election. Well. I have no evidence. At this point from what I've seen bats. Classified information. Was. Disclosed that in any way would have. Had negative impact on our national security. Obviously there's an ongoing investigation. I don't wanna comment on the specifics of investigation. The FBI has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed. And you know I'm gonna let. Director more and others examined those protocols and make some statements to the public generally. I do wanna emphasize what I said before. General Petraeus had an extraordinary career. He served this country we have. Great distinction. In Iraq in Afghanistan and as head of the CIA. By his own assessment. He did not meet the standards. That he felt. We're necessary as a director of CIA. With -- respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with with his family and with his wife and it's on that basis. That he tendered his resignation. And it's on that basis that I accepted. But I won emphasized that. From my perspective at least he has provided in this country an extraordinary service we are safer because of the work that. Dave Petraeus has done. And my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on. And that this ends up. Being. A single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary court. Again I think you're gonna have to talk to the FBI in terms of what their general protocols are when it comes to. What started off as. A potential criminal investigation. And one of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to metal and you know criminal investigations and that's been our practice. And you know I think that -- Certain procedures that both the FBI poll or DOJ fault. When there and involved in these investigations. That's traditionally been how we view things in part because people are innocent until proven guilty and we wanna make sure that we don't. Prejudged. These kinds of situations. And so. My expectation is that they -- protocols and various steps. From. Just feel fortunate. Mr. President I'm a fiscal class. Two years ago sir you said it you wouldn't extend the bush era tax cuts but at the end of the day you did. So respect police are why should the American people and the Republicans believe that you won't -- again this time. Well. Two years ago. The economy it was a different situation. We were still very much in the early parts of recovering from. The worst economic crisis since the great depression. And ultimately we came together. Not only to extend the bush tax cuts but also a wide range of policies that were going to be good for the economy at that point. Unemployment insurance extensions. Payroll tax extension. All of which made a difference and as part of the reason why what we've seen now is 32 consecutive months of job growth and over five and a half million. Jobs created in -- one right coming down. But what I said at the time is what I -- which is this was a one time proposition. And you know what I have told us. Leaders privately as well as public. Is that we cannot afford to extend the bush tax cuts for the well. What we can do is make sure the middle class taxes don't go up. And so. The most important step we can take right now. I think the foundation for. A deal that helps the economy creates jobs. Gives consumers certainty which means gives businesses confidence that. They're gonna have consumers during the holiday season is if we right away say 90% of Americans are not gonna see their taxes go. 97%. Of small businesses are not gonna see their taxes go if we get that in place we are actually removing half of the fiscal fourth. Half of the danger to our economy is removed by that single step. And what we can -- do -- shape. A process whereby we look at tax reform which I'm very eager to do. I think we can simplify our tax system I think we can make it. A more efficient. We can eliminate loopholes and deductions that have a distorting effect on our economy. I believe that we have to. Continue to take a serious look at how we reform our entitlements. Because health care costs continue to be the biggest driver of our deficits. So there is a package. To be shaped. And I'm confident that. Parties. Folks of the goodwill in both parties can make that happen. But what I'm not going to do. Is to extend. Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can't afford. And according to economists will have the least positive impact. On our economy. You've said that the wealthiest must pay more would closing loopholes instead of raising rates for them satisfy it. I think that there are loopholes that can be closed and we should look at how we can make the processes. Deductions. The filing process easier simpler. But when it comes to. The top 2%. What I'm not going to do is to. Extend further. A tax cut for folks who don't need it which would cost. Close to a trillion dollars and it's very difficult to see how you make up. That trillion dollars if we're serious about deficit reduction just by closing loopholes and deductions the other map tends not to work. And I think it's important to establish. A basic principle that. Was debated extensively during the course of this campaign I mean that there shouldn't be a surprise to -- this was if there was one thing that everybody understood. Was a big difference between myself mr. Romney. It was when it comes to how we reduce our deficit I argued very balanced responsible approach and part of that included making sure that. The wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more. I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate. And the majority of voters agree it would make not by the way. More voters agreed -- -- on this issue -- voted for. So we've got to clear majority of the American people who recognizable going to be serious about deficit reduction. We've got a good balance right the only question -- is. Are we gonna hold the middle class hostage. In order to go ahead. What that hat. War -- we all stepped back and say here's something we agree on we don't want middle class taxes to go up. Let's go ahead and lock that in. That will be good for the economy it will be good for consumers it will be good for businesses it takes the edge off the fiscal -- And let's also then commit ourselves to. The broader package of deficit reduction and includes entitlement. Changes and and includes potentially tax reform as well as I'm going to look at additional work that we can do on the discretionary spending side so. I wanted a big deal I want a comprehensive deal wanna see if we can. -- at least for the foreseeable future provides certainty to businesses and the American people so that we can focus on job growth. So there were also investing in the things that we need. But. Right now what I wanna make sure this is the taxes on middle class families don't go up and there's a very easy way to do that we could get that done by next week. Warmup tonight so -- Thank you Mr. President. Come on immigration reform of the criticism in the past has been. That he did not put forth. Legislation. With specific ideas and ended up to the hill this time around you have said again that this will be one of the top priorities. For a second term will use then send legislation to the hill and exactly what. Do you envision is broad immigration reform does that include a legalization program. And also what lessons if any. The Democrats. Learn from this last election and as the Latino vote. Well. I think what was incredible incursion was to see. A significant increase in -- -- to turn. It is the fastest growing. Group in the country. And you know historically we've seen is -- -- vote vote at lower. Rates than the broader population. And that's beginning to change your start to see a sense of empowerment and civic participation. That I think is gonna be powerful and good for the country. And that it is why I'm very confident that we can get immigration reform -- Before the election night. Given a couple of interviews where -- predicted that locked -- on what was going to be strong and that that would cause some reflection on the part of Republicans about. Their position on immigration reform I think we're starting to see that already. I think that's positive -- this is not historically been a partisan issue we've had. President Bush and John McCain and others who support conference immigration reform in the past so we need to seize the moment and my expectation is that we get a bill. Introduced. And we begin the process. In congress. Very soon after my inauguration. And in fact some conversations I think are already beginning to take place among senators and congressmen and my staff about. What would this look like. And what I say conference from immigration reform. Is very similar to the outlines of previous efforts a conference of immigration reform I think it should include. A continuation of the strong border security measures that we've taken because we have to secure borders. I think it should contain. Serious penalties for companies that are purposely hiring. Undocumented workers and taking advantage of them. And I do think that there should be a pathway. Four legal status for. Those who are living in this country. Are not engaged in criminal activity are here. Simply to to work -- it's important for them to pay back taxes it's important for them to learn English it's important for them to potentially pay a fine. But to give them the avenue whereby. They can. Resolve their legal status here in this country I think is very important. Obviously making sure that we put in the law. What the first step we've taken administratively dealing with the dream accurate is very important as well. One thing but I'm I'm very clear about is that young people were brought here through no fault of their own. Who have gone to school here pledge allegiance to our flag wanna serve on our military. Wanna go to school and contribute to our society. That they should be on under the cloud of deportation. That we should give them every opportunity. To earn their citizenship and so. You know there are other components to it obviously the business community continues to be concerned about. Getting enough high skilled workers and I am a believer that if you got that Ph.D. and physics or computer science. Who wants to stay here and start -- business here we should make it harder for him to stay here we should try to encourage him to. Contribute to the society. I think that. -- agricultural sector obviously has very specific concerns about making sure that they've got to -- workforce. That. It helps deliver food -- tables so there going to be a bunch of components to it. But but I think. Whatever process we have needs to make sure border security strong needs to deal -- employers effectively needs to provide a pathway. For the undocumented here needs to do you deal with the DREAM Act kids. And I think that's something that we can get them. Chalked up -- Which -- sort of follow on a cup both Ben's question Jessica's question. On an avenue Ben's question are you promote the worst person you're -- I don't know you guys I feel like you -- that went completely. Up are you withholding judgment on whether you should have known sooner that there was a potential and that's that there was an investigation. Into whether your CIA director. Potentially there was a national security breach which are CIA director do you believe you should have known sooner. -- you withholding judgment until the investigation is complete on that front and then the follow the justice question. Tax rates. Are you is or no deal at the end of the year if tax rates for the top 2% are the Clinton tax rates. Period no if ands or buts and any room negotiating on that specific. Aspect of this -- I am. I am withholding judgment. -- -- respect to how the entire. Process. Surrounding. General Petraeus. Came up. You know we don't have all the information yet. But I wanna say that I have a lot of confidence generally in the FBI. And they've got a difficult job. And. So I'm gonna wait and see to see if if there's any other. Well. I mean -- what all would also is that if it is also possible that had we've been told. Then you'd be sitting here asking a question about why we're -- interference -- criminal investigation. So. You are I think it's best right now for us to just. C how this whole process unfold. I would respect to the tax rates I just want emphasized. I am open to new ideas if there. Republican counterparts or some Democrats. Have a great idea for us to raise revenue. -- maintain progressivity make sure the middle classes and get hit. Reduces our deficit. Encourages growth. I'm not gonna just slammed the door of -- face I want pure. Idea I wanna I wanna hear ideas from everybody. Well. What. I believe this is soul. I think that fair minded people. Can come to an agreement. That does not cause the economy to go back in the recession that protects middle class families that focuses on jobs and growth. And reduces our deficit -- I'm confident it can be done. My budget frankly does but I understand that. I don't expect the Republicans simply to adopt my budget that's not realistic so I recognize that we're gonna have to compromise and as I said on election night. Compromises hard. And not everybody gets a 100% of what they want and not everybody is going to be perfectly happy. But what I. Will not do. Is to. Have a process that is -- That says we're gonna sort of kind of raise revenue. Through. Dynamic scoring room or. Closing loopholes that have not been identified. And the reason I won't do that is because I don't wanna find ourselves in the position. Six months from now or a year from now we're lo and behold. The only way to close ups that. Is to socket to middle class -- Or to burdened families that have disabled kids or you know every parent and nursing home or. Some -- we've got to cut more out of our. Basic research budget that is the key to -- growing economy in the long term. This is so that. That's my concern I'm less concerned about red lines -- say when I'm concerned about is not finding ourselves in a situation. Where. The wealthy. Aren't paying more. Or are paying as much as they should. Middle class families one way or another are making up the difference. That's the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long and that's exactly what I. Argued against during this campaign. And if there's one thing but I'm pretty confident about as we heard people understood what they were getting. When they gave me this incredible privilege of being an office for another four years they want compromise they want action. But I also wanna make sure that. Middle class folks are bearing the entire Bergmann sacrificed. When it comes to some of these big challenges they expect the folks of the top. Are doing their fair share as well and that's going to be my guiding principle. During these negotiations but more importantly during the next four years my administration. -- -- Mr. President on election night you said that you were looking forward to speaking with governor Romney sitting down in the coming weeks to discuss ways that you could work together. On this nation's problems have you extended that invitation has he accepted and in what ways do you think you can work together. You'll we haven't scheduled something yet. I think everybody. Forgets that election was only where people are going. I know I've forgotten I forgot on Wednesday -- So. I think everybody -- to catch their breath I'm sure that governor Romney spent some time this family. And my hope is before the end of the year though -- we have a chance to just sit down and talk. No there there. Certain aspects of governor Romney's. Record and his ideas that I think could be. Very helpful. And well to give you one example. I do think he did a terrific job running the Olympics. And -- that skill set of trying to figure out how we make. Something work better applies to the federal government. There are a lot of ideas that I don't think are part of -- But are just. Smart ideas about how can we. Make the federal government more customer friendly how can we make sure that. You were consolidating. Programs that are duplicative. You know how -- we. Eliminate. Additional -- You can he present it's my ideas during the course of the campaign that I actually agree with. And this would be interesting to talk to him about. Something like that. There may be ideas that he has -- respect to. Jobs growth that can help middle class families that I wanna hear so. You know I'm not I'm not. Either pre judging. What he's interest in doing nor my. Is suggesting I've got some specific assignment. But I want I want boosted -- -- get ideas from him and see if. So if there's some ways that we can potentially work to get. With congress one of the most frequent. -- criticisms we've heard over the past few years from members on both sides is that you haven't done enough to reach out. And build relationships are there concrete ways that you plan to approach your relationships with congress in the second term. Look at I think there's no doubt that I can always do better. And so I will. You know examined. Ways that I can make sure to communicate my desire. To work with everybody. So long as it's advancing the cause of strengthening our middle class and improving our com. You know I've got a lot of good relationships with folks both in the house and the senate. I have a lot of relationships on both sides they'll. It has always manifest itself in. The kind of agreements that I like to see between Democrats and Republicans and so. I think all of us -- as possible to see if there are things that we can improve on and I don't exempt myself. From. Needing to. Go do some self reflection and see if I can improve our working relationship their -- going to be still some very sharp differences. And as I said during the campaign are going to be times where there fights and I think those are fights that need to be here. But. What I think they murder people don't wanna see it is a focus on the next election instead of a focus on them and I don't have another election. And -- Michelle and I were talking last night about. You know what an incredible honor and privilege it is. Two. To be put in this position. And -- people all across this country millions of folks who worked so hard to help us get elected but they're also. Millions of people who may not a -- force but are also counting on us. And us and we take that responsibility very seriously I take that responsibility very seriously. And I hope and intend to be. And even better present the second term and I was in the first. Jonathan Karl. Thank you Mr. President. Senator John McCain and senator Lindsey Graham also stated they wanna have Watergate style hearings on the attack. On the US consulate -- Ghazi and said that if you nominate Susan Rice to be secretary of state they will do everything in their power to block her nomination. A senator Graham said he simply doesn't trust. Ambassador rice after what she said about in Ghazi I'd like your reaction to that and and would those threats deter you from making nomination what don't. Well first of all and under comment at this point on. Various nominations -- all put forward. To fill up my cabinet for the second term and those are things that are still being discussed. -- six server about Susan Rice she has done -- exemplary work. She has represented the United States and our interest in the the United Nations. -- -- skill. And professionalism. And toughness. And grace. As I've said before. She made an appearance. At the request of the White House. In which she. Gave her best. Understanding. Of the intelligence that had been provided to -- If Senator McCain. And senator Graham and others wanna go after somebody they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with. But for them to go after. The UN ambassador. Who had nothing to do it -- Gaza. And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received. And -- to -- besmirch her reputation. Is outrageous. And you know. We're after an election that. I think it is important. For us to find out exactly what happened in the Gaza and I'm happy to cooperate in any way is if congress wants. We have provided every bit of information that we have and we will continue to provide information and we've got a full blown investigation. And all that information will be disgorged. To congress. And I don't think there's any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed that's a problem. And we've got to get to bottom up. And their needs to be accountability. We've got to bring those who carried out justice. They won't get a debate from me on that. When they go after the UN. Ambassador. Early because they think she's an easy target. -- they've got a problem with. And should I choose. If I think that sheet would be the best person to serve America. In the -- for -- the State Department that I will nominate that's not a determination that I made it. -- -- -- take chuck sleet and -- a very small follow which is. Would you feel you have a mandate not just on taxes -- a range of issues. Because of your decisive victory but wants him in Gaza based on what John asked because you said if they wanna come after me come after me. I wanted to ask what the families of these four Americans were killed Sean Smith's father ray said he believes his son basically called 911. For help. And it can get and I know you've said you grieve for these four Americans. That is being investigated but the families in the waiting for more than two months so. I would like to -- to address the families if you can. On 9/11 as commander in chief did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives. You know all of dressed apparently is not through the press all dressed families. Directly and clarity have. And we will provide all the information. That is available about what happened on that -- that's what investigations for. But as I said repeatedly. If people don't think that we did everything we can to make sure. That. We saved the lives of folks who I sent there. And who were. Carrying out missions on May have the United States then you don't know. How our Defense Department thinks or State Department thinks or CIA thinks. They're number one priority is obviously to protect American lives that's what our job is. Now. At where we are put forward and I will put forward. Every bit of information that we had I can tell you vet immediately upon finding out that. Our folks were in danger. That my orders to my national security team work to do whatever we need to do to make sure they're saying. And that's the -- more than I would give any time I see Americans are in danger whether there civilian. Or military because that's our number one per hour. It -- respect to them the issue of mandate for. I've got one mandate. I've got a mandate. To help middle class families. And families that are working hard to try to get in the middle class that's my mandate. That's what the American people so they said. Work really hard to help us. Don't worry about politics. Don't worry about the party's. Interest don't worry about the special interest. Just work really hard to see if you can help us get ahead because we're working really hard out here and were still struggle a lot of us. That's my man I don't presume that because I won election that everybody suddenly agrees with me on -- -- everything. I'm more than familiar with the all the literature about presidential overreach and second terms. We are very cautious about. On the other hand. I didn't get reelected just. Bask in reelection. I got elected -- do work. On behalf of American families and small businesses all across the country who. Are still recovering from a really bad recession but are hopeful about the future. And I am too they -- the one thing that. -- I said during the campaign that maybe so sounds like. A bunch of campaign rhetoric but now that campaigns over I'm -- repeated and hopefully -- really believe me. When you travel around the country you were inspired by the grit and resilience. And hard work. And decency of the American people. And it just makes you wanna work harder. As you meet families who -- you know have overcome really tough spots and somehow. Are making it to send their kids to college and you you meet young people who are doing incredible work in disadvantaged communities. Because they believe them. You know the American ideal and it should be available for everybody and -- you meet farmers who are helped and each others that are -- time to -- out and you know he -- businesses that kept their doors opened -- in the recession even though ordered and have to take a salary and you. When you talk to these folks you say to yourself man. They deserved. Better government than they forget. They they deserve. All of us here in Washington to be thinking every single day how can I make things -- better for them. Fortune to save it everything we do is going to be perfect or that -- just going to be some big tough challenges. That we have to grapple with -- but. I do know the federal government can make a difference weeks we're seeing it right now. On the Jersey coast and in New York. People are still going through a really tough time the response hasn't been perfect but. It's been. Aggressive and just. Strong and fast and robust and a lot of people have been helped because of it and that's a pretty good metaphor for how I want. The federal government to operate generally and I'm gonna do everything I can make sure does. -- -- -- -- Thank you Mr. President. And congratulations by the last. When -- following error in. When I was running for state senate has -- -- -- Chris and I go back court has never seen you win. The weather -- -- that one time -- panic the one quick follow up and then I wanna ask you about Iran. I just wanna make sure I understood what he said can you envision any scenario in which. We do go off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year. On and on Iran are you preparing a final diplomatic push here to resolve that nuclear program issue. And are we headed toward the one on one talks. Well obviously we can all imagine that's where were regardless of fiscal what. If if despite. The election if despite. Dangers of going over the fiscal cliff. And and what that means for our economy. That there is too much you can. Stubborn us. In congress that we can't even agree on your middle class families tax cut them. Middle class members are all gonna end up having a big tax -- And that's going to be a pretty rude shock. For them and I suspect we'll have. A big impact on. The holiday shopping season which in turn will have an impact on. Business planning and hiring and we can go back into recession it would be a bad thing -- it is not necessary. So. I want her -- step number one that we can take in. The next couple weeks. Provide. Certainty to middle class families. 98% of families who make less than 250000 of your nice impose a small businesses that their taxes -- my book a single dime next year. Give them that certainty right now we can get that done. We can then set up a structure. Whereby we are dealing with tax reform closing deductions closing loopholes simplifying. Dealing with -- entitlements. And I'm Bridget and and willing to make big commitments to make sure the world locking him. The kind of deficit reductions that stabilize our deficit start bringing it down to start bringing down our debt. I'm confident we can do it. It's the and look I've been living with this for a couple of years and I know the -- pretty well. And it it's it really is arithmetic it's not calculus. There are some tough things that have to be done but there's a way of doing missed that does not hurt middle class families do that does not hurt. Our seniors doesn't hurt cameras -- disabled kids allows us to continue to invest in those things that make us grow like. Basic research and education helping young people Ford going to college. As we've already heard from. Some Republican commentators. A modest tax increase on the wealthy is not gonna break their backs they'll still be well it. And it will not impinge on business investment. So so we know how to do this is this just a matter of whether or not we come together and go ahead and say it. Democrats -- Republicans were both gonna. Hold hands and do what's right for the murder people and and I hope that's what happens -- respect to Iran. IA. I very much wanna see a diplomatic resolution to. The problem I was very clear before the campaign I was clear during the campaign and I'm not clear after the campaign. We're not gonna let Iran -- nuclear weapons. But. I think there is still a window of time for us to resolve this diplomatically -- We've impose the toughest sanctions. In history it is having an impact on Iran's economy. There should be a way in which they can enjoy peaceful nuclear power while still meeting their international obligations and providing. Clear assurances to the international community that they are not pursuing a nuclear weapons. And so yes I would I will try to make a -- In the coming months to see if we can. Open up a dialogue between Iran and not just us that the international community. To see if we can get the same result I can't promise that Iran will walk through the door that they need to walk through. But that would be very much the preferable option. I won't talk about the details in negotiations but. Having affairs say that. We wanna get this resolved and we're not going to be constrained by. Diplomatic niceties are protocols if Iran is serious about wanting to resolve this. They'll be in a position to have resolved when we prior just prior to the election there was talk that talks might be imminent that was through and it's not. It's not true of as of today. Okay. Just gonna it knocked through a couple others mark planners. -- -- There's for -- from. Thank you Mr. President. In his endorsement in view a few weeks ago Mayor Bloomberg. Said he was a motivated by the belief that you would do more. To confront the threat of climate change than your opponent. Tomorrow you're going up to to New York City Regan and I I -- see people who are still suffering the effects of hurricane sandy which many people say as further evidence. How a warming globe is changing our weather. What specifically do you plan to do and a second term to tackle the issue of climate change. And do you think the political will exists in Washington to pass legislation. That could include some kind of attacks on carbon. You know as you know mark we can attribute. Any particular whether an event to climate change. What we do know where is the temperature around the globe is increased. Faster than was predicted even ten years ago. We do know that there -- Ice cap is melting faster than was predicted even five years ago. We do know that there have been extraordinarily. That they're -- been an extraordinary large number. Of severe weather events. Here in North America but also. Around the -- And I am a firm believer that climate change is real that is impacted by. Human behavior and its carbon emissions. And as a consequence I think we've got an obligation to future generations to do something about it now in my first term. We. Double fuel efficiency standards on cars and trucks. That will have an impact that will take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. We doubled the production of clean energy. Which promises to reduce. The utilization of fossil fuels. Four power generation. And we continue to invest in potential breakthrough technologies. That could further. Remove carbon from our atmosphere. But we haven't done as much as we need to so what I'm gonna be doing over the next several. Weeks. Next several months is having a conversation a wide ranging conversation with scientists engineers. And elected officials. To find out what can what more can we do. To make -- short term progress. In. Reducing. Cartons. And then. Working through an education process. That I think is necessary discussion and conversation. Across the country about -- what realistically. Can we do long term to make sure that this is not. Something we're passing on future generations it's going to be very expensive and very painful to deal. I don't know what. What either Democrats or Republicans are prepared to do -- this point. Because. Of this one those issues that's not just a partisan issue -- I also think there's the regional differences. There's no doubt that for us to take on climate change and a serious way. Would involve. Making some. Tough political choices. And -- understandably having the murder people right now have been so focused and will continue to be focused on our economy and jobs and growth. That you know if the messages somehow we're gonna ignore jobs growth. Simply to address climate change I don't think anybody's gonna go for that. I won't go. If on the other hand we can shape an agenda that says but we can. Create jobs advance growth. And make a serious event climate change and be an international leader I think that's something that the murder people would support so. You know. You can expect that you'll hear more from me. -- in the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that. Carter's. Bipartisan support helps move this moves this agenda forward. I bad that I am pretty certain. And look we're we're still trying to debate whether we can just make sure the middle class families don't get a tax hike. Let's -- -- -- bat. That should be easy. This -- -- but it's important. Because. You'll be one of the things we don't always factory -- of the cost involved. In these natural disasters we. We just put them off as good as something is unconnected to our behavior right now and I think what. Based on the evidence we're seeing news is that what we do now is gonna have an impact and it cost. Down the road if if if we don't do something about it. All right last question. Mark Thornton felt some thought. Was my. Thank you Mr. President that the Asad regime is engaged in the brutal crackdown on its people. France has recognized -- -- coalition. What would it take for the United States do -- And is there any point at which the United States would consider arm the rebels. You know I was one of the first leaders I've been around the world to say -- had to go. In response to be incredible brutality. That his government displayed. In the face of what we're initially peaceful protest. Obviously the situation serious deteriorated since that we have been. -- extensively engage with the international community as well as regional powers to help the opposition. We've committed to hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to help folks both inside of Syria and outside of Syria. We are. Constantly. Consulting with the opposition on how they can get organized so that. They're not splintered and divided in the face of the onslaught from this averaging. We are you in in very close contact where. Countries like Turkey and Jordan. That immediately border Syria and have an impact and obviously Israel. Which is having already. -- grave concerns as we do about for example. Movements of chemical weapons that might occur. In such chaotic. Atmosphere and they could have an impact not just within Syria about. On the region as a whole I'm encouraged to see that the Syrian opposition. Has created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion. Than they had in the past were going to be talking to them my envoys are going to be traveling to. You know various meetings that are going to be taking place with the international community in the opposition. We consider them -- legitimate. Represented of the aspirations. The Syrian people. We're not yet prepared to recognize them -- some sort of government in -- But we do think that it is a broad based representative group one of the questions that we're gonna continue to press is making sure that opposition is committed to. -- democratic. Syria and inclusive Syria a moderates -- We have seen. Extremist elements insinuate themselves into. The opposition. And -- one of things that we have to be on guard about particularly when we start talking about arming. Opposition. Figures is that we're not. In directly. Putting arms in the hands of folks who would do Americans -- or do Israelis -- war. Otherwise engage in and actions that are detrimental to our national security so we were costly probing and working on that issue. The more engaged we are the more will be in a position to make sure that. That we are encouraging the most moderate. Thoughtful. Elements of the opposition that are committed to inclusion. Observance of human rights and I'm working cooperatively with us so long -- -- Thank you very much. That was a great question. But it would be a horrible precedent. For me to answer your question just because you yell that out. So thank you very much does. President Obama refusing to answer a final question because he had not recognize the question. You're listening to a news conference just ended up the White House this is live coverage from CBS news. Who are matters of protocol on matters of tone will wrap up by turning to CBS news White House correspondent Peter -- Several topics quite a lot about the fiscal cliff negotiations. President Obama's opening statement for about six minutes was about that's. And he of course was asked about the CIA director who resigned General Petraeus scandals shall we say and many other issues Peter what struck you. Well I think you know there's been so much made over the years about no drama Obama but every so often. He is emotions and the feelings come through and they did when he was asked about. The attacks of the -- Verbal attacks on his UN ambassador Susan Rice and the way she responded to questions on CBS's face the nation. Back day after September 11 on that attack on the Ben Ghazi embassies using what does she described as available. Intelligence at the time -- denied that it was a terror attack again. Based on the information she had. Well we had -- Senator McCain on CBS this morning. Saying that he felt that she should go in the she's not. You know qualified to be secretary of state if she is indeed that choice and the president said they should go after me to. Besmirch her reputation is outrageous Dan I was sitting. Just you know about a ten feet away from the president and I could tell you that there was a lot of emotion behind that. Yes the phrase saying that they'll have they'll have a problem with me so he was speaking of back talking back to some of the Republican senators on that issue the so called. Then Ghazi investigation I didn't feel there was any news about the the Petraeus scandal if you will. Except that the president given a chance a couple of times to say I should have been told earlier. That the FBI was investigating Petraeus. The president said. While in effect he didn't have any complaint about that at this point and Peter on the fiscal cliff negotiations just briefly. Any news at all any sign of compromise what might happen. Well you know it's very interesting Dan this the president you know keeps talking about compromise but again he's a drawing lines on. Not raising taxes on the wealthy and he at one point used -- formulation that we have heard before. As he said that if there is congressional stubbornness that's what will be to blame. If these taxes on the middle class go up. And it very interesting that I think four times he mentioned the holiday season. And the impact people -- their their buying at this time of year. And the ultimate effect on the overall economy if they get to the the attitude that fiscal cliff and go over. Yes of Americans believe that that will occur in Texas would go up on just about everyone some government spending would be slapped. That's CBS news White House correspondent Peter Mayer who will continue of course to report from there. To wrap up today's events but for now this has been -- CBS news special report. A presidential news conference with Peter -- at the White House I'm Dan received CBS news.