Sunday, March 29, 2009

Obama on Face the Nation March 29 - Video

Obama is considering National Guard troops on the Mexican border but rules out ground troops in Pakistan. On Monday, Obama will give more details on what's going on with the automakers. 

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President Obama: - we've gotta reduce demand for drugs. We've got to do our part in reducing the flow of cash and guns south.

Schieffer: Are we anywhere close to putting U.S. troops on the border?

President Obama: You know, obviously there have been calls to increase National Guard troops on the borders. That's something that we are considering. But we want to first see whether some of the steps that we've taken can help quell some of the violence. And we want to make sure that we are consulting as effectively as we can with the Mexican government in moving this strategy forward.

Schieffer: All right. Let's take a break here. We'll come back and talk about some domestic issues.
He told bankers bonuses are unacceptable:
Schieffer: Did you talk about that in your big meeting with bankers at the White House?

President Obama: I talked to them. And what I said was, look, first of all, there are a lot of bankers that are doing good work in the community, that are acting responsibly, that haven't taken huge risks. I understand that. But understand that for the average single mom who is just barely struggling to pay her mortgage or medical bills for her kid, who's paying her taxes, who's playing by the rules and then finds out that a taxpayer-assisted firm is paying out multi-million dollar bonuses, that's just not acceptable. Show some restraint. Show some, show that you get that this is a crisis and everybody has to make sacrifices.

Schieffer: And what did they say?

President Obama: They agreed. And they recognized it. Now, the proof of the pudding's in the eating. So I expect to see that restraint operate. Another way of putting it, as I said to those folks, let me help you - help me help you. It's very difficult for me as president to call on the American people to make sacrifices to help shore up the financial system if there's no sense of mutual obligation and mutual help.

Now, the flip side is, I've gotta explain to the American people we're not gonna get this recovery if we don't see a recovery of the financial sector. And there's no separation between Main Street and Wall Street. We're all in this together. And it's my job to help keep that focus as we move forward.
Start of the transcript:
CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer: Mr. President, thank you for joining us. This economic crisis has been so severe that it has literally pushed all the other issues off the television, out of the newspapers. But as - when you outlined your program for Afghanistan and the new strategy, it really underlined in the starkest terms that we may not be talking about these serious issues, but there are some very serious things going on out there. So I'd like to start there -

President Obama: Please.

Schieffer: - if I could. This is a hugely ambitious plan. 22,000 more troops. You're gonna increase spending by 60 percent. You said in your announcement we must defeat al Qaeda.

President Obama: Right.

Schieffer: This has really now become your war, hasn't it?

President Obama: I think it's America's war. And it's the same war that we initiated after 9/11 as a consequence of those attacks on 3,000 Americans who were just going about their daily round. And the focus over the last seven years I think has been lost.

What we want to do is to refocus attention on al Qaeda. We are going to root out their networks, their bases. We are gonna make sure that they cannot attack U.S. citizens, U.S. soil, U.S. interests, and our allies' interests around the world.

In order for us to do that, we have to ensure that neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan can serve as a safe haven for al Qaeda. And, unfortunately, over the last several years what we've seen is, essentially, al Qaeda moving several miles from Afghanistan to Pakistan but effectively still able to project their violence and, and hateful ideologies out into the world.

Schieffer: You talked many times during your - as you outlined this strategy, about al Qaeda in Pakistan.

President Obama: Right.

Schieffer: You talk about safe havens in Pakistan.

President Obama: Right.

Schieffer: Are you giving our commanders now in Afghanistan a green light to go after these people even if they're in what used to be safe havens in Pakistan?

President Obama: Well, I haven't changed my approach. If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we're going after them. But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists.

Now, one of the concerns that we've had building up over the last several years is a notion I think among the average Pakistani that this is somehow America's war and that they are not invested. And that attitude I think has led to a steady creep of extremism in Pakistan that is the greatest threat to the stability of the Pakistan government - and ultimately the greatest threat to the Pakistani people.

What we want do is say to the Pakistani people, you are our friends, you are our allies. We are going to give you the tools to defeat al Qaeda and to root out these safe havens. But we also expect some accountability. And we expect that you understand the severity and the nature of the threat.

In addition, what we want do is to help Pakistan grow its economy, to be able to provide basic services to its people, and that I think will help strengthen those efforts. If the Pakistan government doesn't have credibility, if they are weakened, then it's gonna be much more difficult for them to deal with the extremism within their borders.

Schieffer: But you're talking about going after them. Are you talking about with American boots on the ground -

President Obama: No.

Schieffer: - pursuing these people into these so-called safe havens?

President Obama: No. Our plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government. We need to work with them and through them to deal with al Qaeda. But we have to hold them much more accountable. And we have to recognize that part of our task in working with Pakistan is not just military. It's also our capacity to build their capacity through civilian interventions, through development, through aid assistance. And that's part of what you're seeing - both in Afghanistan and Pakistan I think is fully resourcing a comprehensive strategy that doesn't just rely on bullets or bombs but also relies on agricultural specialists on doctors, on engineers, to help create an environment in which people recognize that they have much more at stake in partnering with us and the international community than giving into some of these -

Schieffer: Help me out here -

President Obama: - extremist ideologies.
Read the whole transcript