President Obama’s Press Conference: Live Blog

 @LauraMatt
on November 14 2012 1:05 PM

2:25 p.m.: Obama concludes his first press conference since his re-election.

2:22 p.m.: Last question is being asked on Assad's regime and will U.S. arm the rebels.

Obama said the U.S. has been engaged with international community and regional powers to help the opposition. He said U.S. envoys will be traveling to meet with the international groups and opposition.

Making sure the opposition is committed to a democratic, inclusive and moderate Syria is one thing that will be pushed for.

2:17 p.m.: Obama speaks on climate change and what Washington intends to do about this. "I am a firm believer that climate change is real." Obama also said he believes there is a human impact on climate change. Over the next several months he plans t have conversations with scientists, engineers and elected officials to see what more can be done to make short-term progress to reduce carbon emission. He will also undertake an education process on what can realistically be done long term.

2:10 p.m.: Back to fiscal cliff and reporter introduces talks on Iran.

Obama said if there's "too much stubbornness in Congress" the unnecessary tax hike that will middle class families will be shocking. He said this could impact holiday shopping. He once again said lawmakers should work to save the middle class.

"Give them that certainty right now," the President called upon leaders.

Obama said asking a little bit more from the wealthy will "not break their backs" and that they "will still be rich."

With respect to Iran, Obama said he wants to see a diplomatic solution to the problem and that he will not allow the Middle Eastern country to get nuclear weapon.

"I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open dialogue to get this thing solved."

Obama said he cannot guarantee Iran will walk through the door and he also refused to talk about the negotiations.

2:05 p.m.: Obama said he will not address the families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, through the press, but personally -- as he has already done.

"I will put forward every bit of information that we have."

Obama said once finding out Americans were in danger in Benghazi, he gave the order to do what's needed to be done to keep them safe.

2:02 p.m.: Obama refused to comment on nominations put forward to fill cabinet going forward. He praised UN. Ambassador Susan Rice for her work. (Rice is said to be a top choice to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.) Obama said Rice made an appearance at the request of the White House and gave a presentation based on the information given to her.

"If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after someone they should go after me."

Obama doesn't approve of those smudging Rice's reputation. The President said when any one goes after Rice because they feel she is "an easy target" has a problem with him.

1:58 p.m.: When asked about working with Republican Mitt Romney in the future, Obama said there are certain aspects of Romney's idea he thinks can be helpful. He said Romney did a good job running the Olympics. Obama said Romney may have ideas about jobs and growth that he may want to hear.

1:53 p.m.: Moving back to Petraeus and taxes. Obama is asked if he is withholding judgment on Petraeus.

Obama said he is withholding judgment because he is doesn't have a lot of information yet and he has confidence in the FBI. "I am going to wait and see" how this who process unfold.

Regarding taxes, Obama again said he is open to ideas on how to raise revenues and make sure the middle class doesn't get hit. "I am not going to slam the door in their faces. I want to hear from everybody. I am confident it can be done."

Obama said his budget effectively does that but he doesn't expect the Republicans to latch on to his plan immediately.

1:40 p.m.: Reporter asks about immigration reform and whether legislation will go to the Hill.

Obama said it was encouraging to see the increase in Latino turnout. He said the empowerment and civic participation is good for the country. "That is why I am confident we can get immigration reform done." He expects to get a bill introduced and discussion "very soon after my inauguration."

For Obama comprehensive immigration includes strong border security, serious penalties for companies purposely hiring undocumented workers and taking advantage of them. He also wants to see a pathway for those in the country and are not criminals.

"I'm very clear about young people who were brought here on no fault of their own ... they shouldn't be under the cloud of deportation. We should give them every opportunity to earn their citizenship."

"We need to seize the moment."

1:42 p.m.: Moving onto fiscal cliff and Bush era tax cuts. When asked why he won't cave this time around Obama said two years ago things were different and they came together on cuts and policies that were "going to be good for the economy at that time. ... What I said at the time is what I meant. That this was a one-time proposition."

Obama stressed that the best thing to do right now is to prevent taxes from going up for 98 percent of Americans, therefore, removing half of the fiscal cliff then move forward. "I believe that we have to take a serious look on how we reform our entitlement. ... There is a package to be shaped. But what I am not going to do is extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest percent."

Obama said he thinks there are loopholes to be closed but he won't extend cuts for the 2 percent who don't need it.

1:39 p.m.: AP asks question on Petraeus. Obama said he doesn't have any information that classified information were disclosed. "I don't want to comment on classified information." He emphasized Petraeus had an exemplary career. Obama said Petraeus was the one who decided he wasn't fit to continue to run the CIA based on his personal assessment. Obama accepted Petraeus's resignation on that assessment.

1:34: p.m.: Obama enters the room. He reiterates the top priority is jobs and growth. The idea of his plan is a thriving middle class, rewarding local small businesses, putting people back to work. "We face a very clear deadline" that forces us to make some decision on jobs and taxes. He said he is still confident the challenges can be solved together.

Option one: Everyone's taxes going up if there is no plan. "That doesn't make sense. Our economy cannot afford that right now."

Option two: Pass a law now that will give all Americans a tax cut. "We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy.

1:30 p.m.: President Obama should be taking the podium shortly. The press has not gotten the chance to directly question him on Benghazi.

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President Barack Obama will give his first press conference since his re-election last week, and though he may hope the questions focus on his second-term agenda, there’s a brewing adultery scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus that’s raising many questions.

The President has not had an official conference with the White House press corps since March. 

The press conference, set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, is likely to be dominated by the ongoing scandal regarding Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell -- a scandal that has since embroiled Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and another woman, Jill Kelley, who reported receiving threatening emails from Broadwell.

While investigating the email threats, the FBI uncovered the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell, who are both married.

Prior to fielding questions from reporters, Obama is expected to make statements on the possible bipartisan efforts to tackle the deficit and pull the economy from the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Without agreement, spending cuts and tax increases will take effect on January 1.

Obama has encouraged the House to pass a Senate bill extending tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans. Obama has said he will do away with any proposal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners.

Beyond the fiscal cliff and Petraeus, reporters may also seek to dig deeper into Benghazi attack that killed four Americans on Sept. 11.

The FBI is conducting its investigation into the attack, which is now known to have been a terrorist attack. Reports are that there were several incidents in the months prior that should have prompted officials to boost security. Instead, repeated requests for additional security were denied. Now lawmakers are looking to find out what happened, identify any security gaps or lapses, and how to prevent another incident of this sort from happening again. 

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