President Obama held a White House news conference today, taking questions from reporters on a number of topics, including the budget & deficit, U.S. military involvement in Libya, same-sex marriage, and Afghanistan.
The President discussed the ongoing negotiations with the GOP-controlled U.S. House and Democratic-led Senate over the budget and taxes. Referring to his proposals to eliminate certain tax incentives to raise revenue, the President said “I spent the last two years cutting taxes for middle-class Americans…it’s only fair to ask an oil company or corporate jet owner to give up a tax break.” Calling on Republicans to work with the White House, he said ““Leaders…rise to the occasion, and they do the right thing for the American people.”
On Libya, the President reiterated his position that the White House is not in violation of the War Powers Act, saying that the U.S. operations there are “limited in time and scope” and that “a lot of this fuss (in Congress) is politics.”
On same-sex marriage, Mr. Obama said that he felt he had done more to advance gay rights “than the previous forty-three presidents” and that there is a “profound recognition among the American people that gays and lesbians…should be treated like every other American, and I think that principle will win out.”
Reporters also asked whether Afghan forces would be ready to take over as American troops begin to leave the country, especially in light of Wednesday’s attack on a Kabul hotel. The President compared the drawdown to the situation in Iraq, saying that “these are still countries that are digging themselves out of a lot of war and conflict” and that occasional attacks will still occur even as the situation becomes more stable.
This was President Obama’s first full news conference since March of this year.