Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014   No comments

NPR's wide-ranging interview with President Obama covers recent executive actions on Cuba and immigration, race relations in the U.S., health care, the midterm elections and extending democracy in the Middle East.

STEVE INSKEEP: Since your party's defeat in the election, you have made two major executive actions — one on immigration, one on Cuba. One of those might have been difficult to do before the election; the other surely would've been difficult to do before the election, which makes me wonder: Is there some way in which that election just passed has liberated you?


PRESIDENT OBAMA: I don't think it's been liberating. Keep in mind that all these issues are ones that we've been working on for some time.

It took about a year to arrive at the Cuba policy that was announced yesterday, including extensive negotiations with the Cuban government, meetings with the Vatican, making sure that we had looked at all the policy ramifications. And I was persuaded that ultimately this would be good for the Cuban people and more likely to lead to a loosening up of the restrictions or oppression that exists there.

With respect to immigration reform, obviously I'd been working on that for six years. And the truth ...
But this was the moment when you could do those things?
Yeah. Well, I do — here's what I do think is true: that I have spent six years now in this office. We have dealt with the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression. We have dealt with international turmoil that we haven't seen in a lot of years.

And I said at the beginning of this year that 2014 would be a breakthrough year, and it was a bumpy path.

But at the end of 2014, I could look back and say we are as well-positioned today as we have been in quite some time economically, that American leadership is more needed around the world than ever before — and that is liberating in the sense that a lot of the work that we've done is now beginning to bear fruit. And it gives me an opportunity then to start focusing on some of the other hard challenges that I didn't always have the time or the capacity to get to earlier in my presidency.

Can I think of you as shifting from things you had to do to things you more want to do?

Ed Isr

About Ed Isr

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