tv News Nation MSNBC December 20, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PST
or bleeding problems. xarelto® is not for patients with artificial heart valves. jim changed his routine. ask your doctor about xarelto®. once a day xarelto® means no regular blood monitoring -- no known dietary restrictions. for more information and savings options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit goxarelto.com. good afternoon, everyone, i'm tamron hall. "news nation" is following breaking news. president obama is about to hold a news conference on what's scheduled to be the last day of the year, his last day in washington, d.c. the president and his family are set to head to hawaii for their annual holiday vacation. the news conference comes on the heel of another change in the president ses health care law. millions of people whose insurance policies have been
canceled will be allowed to buy bare bones plans. the surprise announcement came days ahead of monday's deadline for people to choose plans for coverage that begins january 1st. the latest nbc/wall street journal poll showed 43% of americans approve the job the president is doing and 54% disapprove. at the beginning of the year, president obama's approval was at 52%. and joining me live now, nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker and mark murray and nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell. thank you so much for joining us. kristen, i started the show just now flustered as i was reading again these latest changes to the health care law. i say that openly and honestly because i believe you have a lot of americans right now with so many adjustments being made who may be on the fence on whether
or not it's time to jump in and sign up, who feel the same way, that this health care law, whether or not it is successful in the future is on unsettled ground. >> reporter: it is, tamron, a lot of people are trying to process and digest the latest rule changes. the latest allowed the millions of americans who received cancellation notices from the insurance companies and companies who said their plans were substandard didn't meet the new standards of the president's health care law so they would have to buy new plans, more expensive plans, can now buy bare bones plans and apply for what is known as catastrophic coverage. that means that they won't be eligible for some of those broader parts of coverage that you get with more extensive plans. but of course, they'll wind up paying less. previously those catastrophic plans had mostly been only for those younger than 30 years old.
just to give you a sense. this is certainly a stunning reversal by the obama administration and at least the seventh relaxation of the rules of the president's health care law. insurance companies and insurance officials are expressing concern this afternoon saying that this change could disrupt the marketplace, could ultimately lead to higher premiums. president obama will answer a lot of questions about this rollout of the health care law. he will also get a number of questions, i anticipate about nsa, earlier this week a task force came out with 46 recommendations about what the administration should do to scale back the surveillance program. and don't forget there are a number of other issues on the table, including immigration reform. that was one of president obama's key plans for the second term and that remains stalled in congress. there's a lot on the docket.
>> mark, let me bring you in and focus narrowly here and it is the hot topic, the health care law. this as the president mentioned, last press conference of the year here. and for many reasons, particularly how this president expressed his confidence that the health care law from the website that was down for a short period of time today again, new details on this change that this law and the implementation of it is on the right course, even with these bumps. after the new year there won't be a flood gate of issues that seem to put, i guess the nation's confidence of the health care law in jeopardy. >> you look at our nbc wall street journal poll and it shows his numbers declined and almost all of it due to the rocky health care rollout. most paying more attention to health care than about the economy.
all of the negative impressions about the health care law have really rubbed off on the president. as far as how he can have assurance in the health care implementation, this implementation has been a mess. people argued that the last time there was an implementation like this when george w. bush was implementing his medicare prescription drug plan, it was also rocky. but we've never seen something on this scale. this health care law affects so many more people than george w. bush's medicare prescription drug law. that rocky website, with all the attention and then getting that fix and trying to have some positive news cycles is incredibly important to 2014 midterms. >> let's talk about the things the first read team pointed out, delays over the course of this year. one year mandate delay for those losing insurance as we pointed out. that was today. the other change, insurers allowed to sell below policies for another year, the fix the president talked so much about. the small business exchange site delayed a year.
large employer mandate delayed until 2015 and limit on out-of-pocket expenses delayed until 2015. again, these things perhaps should have been anticipated and it does not mean in the future people will not look back at this law and wonder how this country could have gone this long without universal health care. but right now it's like taking medicine and doesn't always go down easily. >> you just look it's whiplash. when you add those things up and if you are someone who wants to follow the letter of the law, wants to have health insurance, you might be confused and rightly so. tamron, there's a big difference between the politics and policy. a lot of these moves, including the most recent delay, seems solely dedicated to politics and not getting blow back from people with canceled health insurance plans. the question is whether the policy still ends up working and that individual mandate holds up. one of the big questions and you've seen republicans raise it, if you have this particular loophole in the individual mandate, why not have it for everyone, including inunsured
americans. there's a big difference between the politics and policy. it will be interesting to see president obama answer those questions. >> andrea, a couple of things i would like to discuss with you. the nsa, an interesting week from the federal judge that the program is likely unconstitutional and, two, the white house releasing the 46 recommendations from that panel. we know the president is expected to give more details in january on what recommendations he would like to see put in place and those he's chosen to reject. but, again, just from monday to wednesday and we'll hear from the president now, how do you believe the white house is playing its hand on the nsa and how it is playing out in the public? >> the president is likely going to avoid committing himself one way or another because the white house has said the president will not make a decision on those recommendations until after the holiday break and beginning of the new year. so he's going to try to say he's studying that and duck the
question. more leaks from edward snowden today and that includes 1,000 foreign targets, including prime minister's office and israel former prime minister, and that just adds more to this and there is the question of the federal judge's ruling as you point out this week, saying it was unconstitutional that again the president can say that's one judge but another judge in california ruled it is constitutional so we'll wait to hear how this evolves on appeal. i think there could also be other questions on the iran sanctions which he vowed to veto and foreign relations chair, menendez is still plowing ahead with that. more sanctions which could really blow up the ongoing negotiations under way right now in europe. and prudent, individual vladimir putin yesterday. and the interesting response if he's asked about putin.
>> absolutely, an the issue of iran, the bipartisan legislation you were referring to with senator menendez makes the situation even more complex for the president and it would veto any more sanctions against iran this is bipartisan legislation and he would reject andrea. >> he would reject legislation and that puts him in a tricky position because he would have to -- there's even a possibility that his veet to would be overridden. they are trying to get allies, including schumer and menendez and key democrats, not to support the additional sanctions. it's a tight rope they are walking, issued new sanctions on individual entities in iran. unilaterally and that precipitated a walkout from the talks. they flew back from tehran, saying that was a violation of the agreement. they are back in the talks today and kerry had to call foreign
minister zarif, the president is caught between showing he's tough enough on sanctions to ward off more congressional action and not tough enough to get the iranians to walk away. >> speaking of being perceived as tough enough, the ongoing crisis in syria, andrea, in looking in reflection in this year and that's what people do at the end of the year, you take assessment of things you were able to accomplish and things that where you've fallen short. when you look at foreign policy for this administration, i imagine like with others, you have a mixed bag, complicated by the president having to play defense with the health care law and deal with what has now been at least a one bipartisan agreement on the budget deal. >> it's so complicated foreign policy, especially after the arab spring. but the syrian situation is an unspeakable tragedy.
monday morning quarterbacking, said and now believe that they've been vindicated and the administration should have been more involved in helping the rebels sooner. you can completely understand with the afghan engagement and the we'riness of the american public that they did not want to become engaged more directly in syria. they wanted to first test who the rebels were. now they have the worst possible situation. the rebels and more moderate rebels are fleeing and rebel groups are dominated by al qaeda influenced and assad is stronger than ever and 11,000 children have been endangered or killed according to u.n. estimates and independent ngos. the tragedy and the refugee crisis which is overwhelming syria's neighbors allies like jordan as well as the displaced
people within syria. the reporting keir simmons has been as tounding. >> it has. i want to put up the wall street journal poll of issues most important to people and view that is shaping the view of president obama health care, 58%, the most important issue shaping the views of people as relates to the president. the economy, 25%, government shutdown seems like years ago, right around the corner and we could be looking at another. i'll take you down to immigration and one of the things that we believe the administration will focus on in the next three years, particularly next year, some kind of compromise, some kind of comprehensive immigration reform, even though it's at the bottom of that list. >> right and of course the immigration is in the hands of john boehner on what kind of legislation he brings to the floor, is it comprehensive, piecemeal, how do you work that
out? that is in his court. you mentioned the poll numbers on health care and that goes to show you how important it is for the administration to fix this, to get it right. reduce enrollment and have success stories to talk about because health care has been dragging down this president over the past two months. as one of our nbc/wall street pollsters but it, as health care goes, so does 2014 for president obama. they know to show good data and good mix between young and old folks and have success stories to overshadow the other stories the opposition will have. >> let me bring back kristen welker. this is the first time in the obama presidency that his departure plans have-nots been delayed because of legislative action in washington, d.c. we know that members of congress left town on what they saw as a high note with the budget and
debt ceiling -- budget deal but we know that more issues loom ahead, including the debt ceiling in february. as mark notes, potential issues with the implementation of the health care law and there's a fear that people -- information perhaps will be wrong and when they go in to the doctor, some of this information may not be correct, which then presents another problem. >> that's absolutely one of the big concerns, tamron. i've been talking to insurance officials who are still seeing 5% error rates when they are getting these enrollment applications. i was a part of a briefing yesterday afternoon and the administration says that they are going to be working through the holidays and say january 1st is not going to be a federal holiday for them. they are beefing up staffing at calling centers to help people navigate through those problems. they say right now they have about 12,000 trained staffers at 17 different sites, all across the country to help people who
want to enroll in these time days ahead of the december 23rd deadline, which of course on monday. i can tell you president obama told his staff he wants regular updates while vacationing in hawaii. he's not going to be traveling with anyone from hhs or cms, they will be here working but providing regular updates by telephone. you're absolutely right. the back drop to his departure quite different from what we have seen in past years but the debt limit fight looms large. republicans saying that they want to extract something and the white house continuing to dig in saying they are not going to negotiate over the debt limit. we all remember what happened during the summer of 2011 when the administration did negotiate and essentially came very close to the brink of defaulting on its loans. they don't want to see that happen again. they feel good about where the economy is headed. especially after that budget deal but the debt limit is one
of their large concerns as they look to the new year. >> mark, reading the tea leaves, we're not even at christmas yet, let alone the new year, but to kristen's point, this debt ceiling fight looming in february, despite what seemed like so many lawmakers leaving town, waving their hands, saying finally we've accomplished something, knowing that they are in the single digit when it comes to approval rating from the american public, but that to me seems that would all be lost in another 60 days or so we're back with another stalemate. >> the good news is we won't have a stalemate over the next two years on whether the government is open or shut or ends up closing down. but you are right, the debt limit needs to be raised by february. i think a big question republicans end up having, do they want a standoff or demand concessions from the president knowing full well such a move like what we saw during the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate of october wasn't
good for their party. so i do think republicans who feel the status quo is good for midterm 2014 chances might decide we would probably rather end up having the status quo and some type of ease to not really provoking a fight because we know where the administration stands right now on this. they are not going to negotiate. that was the stance in october. >> and andrea, we have the two-minute warning but the economy, 25% of the people said it was most important issue shaping their view of the president. we know one of the issues likely to be discussed is the minimum wage. we saw workers in 100 cityies leave their job in protest and that is picking up steam. the president said he was ready to have an action, what he says needs to take place here. >> i think he would get a lot of support if he came up with something around $10 an hour. that would get republican support as well and could very
well be something he should focus on coming up in his state of the union. but the other thing that's happened is he's got good gdp numbers today sean got a lift. this is probably the best silver lining he's got at the end of the year, that the economy is beginning to perk up and housing starts are improved at record levels. and that he can look forward to perhaps an economic lift and the confirmation of a new fed chair and outgoing ben bernanke getting great reviews. there's a lot to be said right now. >> do you get an impression, the dow is up 106 points there's a frustration in the administration that this economic uptick, this uplift of a story as it relates to the economy, the housing market also seeing in many states that had be crippled somewhat of a turnaround that this is being overshadowed by the health care law and even by some republicans who still want to repeal it?
>> well, this is relatively recent news, these indicators from the economy in just the last week or so. and the market is certainly responding to it. what we have not yet seen is businesses really investing all of the money they've been sitting on. the record profits as we wait for the president to come in, he may make some call for that. because right now, businesses are not putting their money where their profits are we're not seeing job growth that we really should see, the job numbers were good last week but not consistently good for long enough period of time to deal with this long-term unemployment. i would also expect you would hear from him -- as you see him coming in about unemployment. >> thank you. >> spend time with your families, not surprisingly, i am too. but you know what they say, it's the most wonderful press conference of the year. i'm eager to take your questions but first i want to say a few
words about our economy. in 2013, our business has created another 2 million jobs adding up to 8 million in just over the past 45 months. this morning we learned over the summer our economy grew at its strongest pace in nearly two years. the unemployment rate has steadily fallen to the lowest point in five years. tax code is fair and fiscal situation is firmer, with deficits that are now less than half of what they were when i took office. for the first time in nearly two decades we now produce more oil at home than we buy from the rest of the world. and our -- all of the above strategy for new american energy means lower energy costs. the affordable care act has helped keep health care costs growing at the slowest rate in 50 years. combined that means bigger paychecks for middle class families and bigger savings for
businesses looking to invest in america. through all of the challenges we've had and all of the challenges that we've been working on diligently in dealing with both the aca and the website these past couple of months, more than half a million americans enrolled through healthcare.gov in the first three weeks of december alone. in california, for example, the state operating its own marketplace, more than 15,000 americans are enrolling every single day. and in the federal website, tens of thousands are enrolling every single day. since october 1st, more than one million americans have selected new health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces. all tolled, millions of americans despite the problems with the website are now poised to be covered by quality affordable health insurance come new year's day. this holiday season there are mothers and fathers and
entremendo entrepreneurs and workers have something to celebrate, when the expected or misfortune strikes, hardship no longer has to. you add that all up and we head into next year with an economy that's stronger than it was when we started the year. more americans are finding work. and experiencing the paycheck. businesses are positioned for new growth and new jobs. and i firmly believe that 2014 can be a breakthrough year for america. but, as i outlined in detail earlier this month, we all know there's a lot more we'll have to do to restore opportunity taen broad based growth for every american. that's going to require some action. it's a good start that earlier this week for first time in years, both parties in both houses of congress came together to pass a budget. that unwinds some of the damaging sequester cuts that
created head winds for our economy and clears the path for businesses and investments we need to strengthen the middle class like education and scientific research. it means the american people won't be exposed to another reckless shutdown. it's also fair to say we're not condemned to end less gridlock. there are areas we can work together. i believe work should begin with something republicans in congress should have done before leaving town this week and that's restoring the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet whether they are looking for a job. because congress didn't act, more than 1 million of their constituents will lose a vital economic lifeline at christmas time, leaving job seekers without any source of income at all. i think we're a better country
than that. we don't abandon each other when times are tough. unemployment insurance only goes to folks who are actively looking for work. mom who needs help feeding her kids when she sends out resumes or dad who needs help paying the rent while working part-time and still earning the skills he needs for the new job, so when congress comes back to work, their first order of business should be making this right. i know bipartisan group is working on a three-month extension of this insurance. they should pass it. i'll sign it right away. we've got work to do with jobs and help more americans earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build financial security. we still have the task of
finishing the fix on our broken immigration system. we've got to build on the progress we've painstakingly made over the last five years with respect to our economy and offer the middle class and those looking to join middle class a better opportunity. and that's going to be where i focus all of my efforts in the year ahead. and let me conclude by saying, just as we're strengthening our position here at home, we're also standing up for our interests around the world. this year we've demonstrated that with clear eyed principal diplomacy we can pursue new paths to a world that's more secure. a future where iran does not build a nuclear weapon and syria's chemical weapon stockpiles are destroyed. by the end of next year the war in afghanistan will be over just as we ended our war in iraq. we'll continue to bring our troops home. as always, we will remain vigilant to protect our homeland
and our personnel overseas from terrorist attacks. of course, a lot of our men and women in uniform are still overseas and a lot still spending their christmas far away from their family and friends and in some cases still in harm's way. i want to close by saying to them and their families back home, we want to thank you. your country stands united in supporting you and being grateful for your service and sacrifice. we'll keep you in our thoughts and prayers during this season of hope. before i wish a meshry christmas to all and all a good night. i will take some questions. jay prepared a list of who's naughty and nice. we'll see who made it. julie must be nice. >> despite the data points you cited, when you look back at this year, very little of the
domestic agenda that you outlined in your inaugural address have been achieved. health care rollout had major problems and ratings are at historic lows. has this been the worst year of your presidency? >> i've got to tell you that's not how i think about it. i've now been in office five years, close to five years. was running for president for two years before that. for those of you who covered me during that time, we have had had ups and downs. i think this room has probably reported at least 15 near death experiences. and what i've been focused on each and every day is are we moving the ball in helping the american people, families, have more opportunity and have a
little more security to feel as if they work hard they can get ahead? and if i look at the past year, there are areas where i had frustrations where i wish congress had moved more aggressively, not passing background checks in the wake of newtown is something i continue to believe was a mistake. i also look at because of the debate that occurred, all of the work that's been done at state levels to increase gun safety and make sure that we don't see tragedies like that happen again. there's a lot of focus on legislative activity at the congressional level. even when congress doesn't move on things they should move on, there are a whole bunch of things we're still doing. we always get attention for it but the connect ed program we announced where we're going to
be initiating tiwireless capaci in every classroom in america will make a huge difference for kids all across this country and teachers. a manufacturing hub that we set up in youngstown, something i talked about during the state of the union, is going to create innovation and connect universities and manufacturers and job training to help create a renaissance -- build on the renaissance we're seeing in manufacturing. when it comes to energy, this year is going to be the first year in a long time where we're producing more oil and natural gas here in this country than we're importing. that's a big deal. i understand the point you're getting at, julie, which is that a lot of our legislative
initiatives in congress have not moved forward as rapidly as i'd like. i completely understand that, which means that i'm going to keep at it and if you look at, for example, immigration reform, probably the biggest thing that i've wanted to get done this year, we saw progress. it passed the senate with a strong bipartisan vote. there are indications in the house that even though it did not get created this year, there is a commitment on the part of the speaker to try to move forward legislation early next year. and the fact it didn't hit the timeline that i prefer is obviously frustrating but not something i brood a lot about. >> when you look at talking to americans, they seem to have lost confidence in you, trust in you, your credibility has taken a hit, obviously the health care law was a big part of it. do you understand that those --
it has changed somehow their view of you in this year? >> i guess what i'm saying, if you measure this by polls, my polls have gone up and down a lot through the course of my career. if i was interested in polling, i wouldn't have run for president. i took this job for deliver for the american people and knew and will continue to know there will be ups and downs on it. you're right, health care website problems were a source of great frustration in the last press conference and adequately discussed my frustrations. since that time i now have a couple million people, maybe more who will have health care on january 1st. and that is a big deal. that's why i ran for this office. and as long as i've got an
opportunity every single day to make sure that in ways large and small i'm creating greater opportunity for people, more kids are able to go to school and get the education they need, more families are able to stabilize their finances, housing market is continuing to improve and people feel like their wages maybe are inching up a little bit, if those things are happening, i'll take it. and i've said before, i've run my last political race, so at this point my goal every single day is to make sure that i can look back and say, we're delivering some of it, not everything, because this is a long haul. >> mark. >> thank you, mr. president. one of the most significant events is the revelation of the surveillance for national security agency. as you review how to reign in
the national security agency, a federal judge said that, for example, the government failed to cite a instance instance in which analysis of the nsa's m metadata stopped an attack. are you able to cite an example it did so? >> let me talk more broadly then i'll talk specifically about the program you're referring to. as you know, the independent panel that i put together came back with series of recommendations, 46 in total. i have an extensive meeting with them down in the situation room to review all of the recommendations that they've made. i want to thank them publicly because they did an excellent job. and took my charge very seriously. i told them i want you to look from top to bottom at what we're doing and evaluate whether or
not the current structures that we have and current programs that we have are properly addressing both our continuing need to keep ourselves secure and prevent terrorist attacks or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or other threats to the homeland, and are we also making sure that we're taking seriously rule of law and our concerns about privacy and civil liberties. so, what we're doing now is evaluating all of the recommendations that have been made over the next several weeks i'm going to assess based on conversations not just with the intelligence community but others in government and outside of government, how we might apply and incorporate their recommendations. and i'm going to make a pretty definitive statement about all of this in january where i'll be
able to say here are the recommendations we think make sense and here are ones we think are promising but still need to be refined further. here's how it relates to the work we're doing not just internally and in partnership with other countries. so i'm taking this very seriously because i think -- as i've said before, this is a debate that needed to be had. one specific program, the 215 program is the met at a data, the bulk collection of phone numbers and exchanges that have taken place that has probably gotten the most attention at least with respect to domestic audiences. what i've said in the past continues to be the case, which is the nsa in executing this program believed based on
experiences from 9/11, that it was important for us to be able to track if there was a phone number of a known terrorist outside of the united states calling into the united states where that call might have gone. and that having that data in one place and retained for a certain period of time allowed them to be confident in pursuing various investigations and terrorist threats. and i think it's important to note in all reviews of this program that have been done, in fact, there have not been actual instances where it's been alleged that the nsa in some ways acted inappropriately in the use of this data. but what is also clear is from the public debate, people are concerned about the prospect of possibility of use and that's what the judge in the district
court suggested. and although his opinion obviously differs from rulings on the fisa court, we're taking those into account. the think we'll have to ask, can we accomplish the same goals that this program is intended to accomplish in ways that give the public more confidence that in fact the nsa is doing what it's supposed to be doing. i have confidence in the fact that the nsa is not snooping around. but i recognize as technologies change and people can start runningal ga rhythms and programs that map out all of the information that we're downloading on a daily basis into our telephones and computers that may have to refine this further and i'll work hard on doing that. weech g we've got to provide more confidence to the international
community. in some ways what has been more challenging we have laws and checks and balances and audits when it comes to making sure that nsa and others are not spying on americans. we've had less legal constraint in terms of what we're doing internationally. but i think part of what's been interesting about this whole exercise is recognizing that in a virtual world some of these boundaries don't matter anymore. just because we can do something didn't mean we should. the values we have as americans are ones we have to be willing to apply along our borders more systemically than we've done in the past. ed henry. >> thank you, mr. president. i want to follow up -- merry christmas by the way.
when edward snowden first started leaking information, you claimed to the american people that you already formed the surveillance, that my team evaluated them and scrubbed them thoroughly and expanded the oversight. you also said we may have to rebalance some and there may be changes. you concluded with you can complain about big brother and how this is a potential program run amuck, when you look at the details then, i think we've struck the right balance. that was only six months ago. now the judge is saying your whole panel is saying, struck the right balance, that changes have to be made. my question, were you wrong then because you are not fully read in not just on these programs but other programs outside the ones you just talked about where we were potentially listening in on the german leaders and others that were suggesting there were abuses. if you weren't fully read, is it
an another example of this question of credibility with the american people, just like on health care, you like your plan you can keep it. on surveillance you look the american people in the eye, we've got the right balance. six months later -- >> it's important to note that when it comes to the right balance on surveillance these are a series of judgment calls to make sure that the american people are protected. that's a hard job. because if something slips the question coming from you, the next day is mr. president, why didn't you catch that? why did the intelligence people allow that to slip? isn't there a way we could have found out that the terrorist attack took place? >> the point is that not that my assessment of the 215 program has changed in terms of
technically how it works. ma is absolutely clear to me, given the public debate that took place and this is only going to work if the american people have confidence and trust. now, part of the challenge is that because of the matter in which the dribs and drabs shaded in a particular way and because of the constraints that we've had in terms of declassifying information and getting it out there, that that trust how many safeguards insist and how the programs are run has been diminished. what's going to be important is to build that back up. i take that into account in weighing how we structure these programs. let me be very specific on the 215 program. it is possible that some of the
same information that the intelligence community feels is required to keep people safe can be obtained by having the private phone companies, keep these records longer and to create some mechanism where they can be accessed in an effective fashion. it might cost more. there might need to be different checks on how those requests are made. there may be technological solutions that have to be found to do that. and the question we're asking ourselves now is, does that make sense not only because the fact that there are concerns about potential abuse down the road with the metadata being kept by a government rather than private
companies, brut also does it make sense to do because people right now are concerned, that maybe their phone calls are being listened to. we've got to factor that in. my point is the environment has changed in ways that i think require us to take that into account. but the analysis that i've been doing throughout has always been you know, looking at periodically what we're doing and asking, are we doing it the right way and keeping the american people safe, number one, and being true to civil liberties and privacy and values. >> i understand it's a tough job and god forbid there's another terror attack every one of us would be second guessing you -- >> that's okay, i volunteered. >> you put it on your back. do you have person regrets? you're not addressing fact the public statements you've made
to -- james clapper months ago got a question from a democrat, not a republican whether this was going on. he denied it. doesn't that undermine the public trust? >> you're conflating me and mr. ch clapper. >> he's still on the job. >> what i'm saying is this, yes, these are tough problems that i am glad to have the privilege to tackle. your initial question was whether the statements i made six months ago are ones that i don't stand by and what i'm saying is that the statements i made then aren't entirely consistent with the statements i make now, which is that we believed that we had scrubbed these programs and struck an appropriate balance and there had not been evidence and there continues not to be evidence that the particular program had been abused in how it was used. and that it was a useful tool
working with other tools in t s intelligence community has to ib sure if we have a thread that that could be followed effectively. what i've also said though in light of the disclosures that have taken place, it is clear that whatever benefits this particular program may have may be outweighed by the concerns that people have on this potential abuse. if that's the case, there may be another way of skinning the cat. so we just keep on going at this stuff. and seeing can we do this better more effectively. i think the panel's recommendations are consistent with that. if you had a chance to read the overall recommendations, what they were very clear about was, we need this intelligence.
we can't unilaterally disarm. there are ways we can do it potentially that gives people greater assurance that checks and balances and sufficient oversight and transparency programs like 2015 could be redesigned in ways that give you the same information when you need it without creating potentials for abuse. that's exactly what we should be doing is to evaluate all of these things in a very clear specific way. and moving forward on changes. that's what we're going to do. >> john? >> it's been a tough year, may not want to call it the worst year of your presidency but clearly a tough year at the polls going up and down and at a low point right now. i'm asking you to acknowledge the difficulties with the health care rollout. when you look back at the decisions you have made and what you did and didn't do, for you personally, what do you think
has been your biggest mistake? >> with respect to health care specifically or generally? >> the whole thing. well, there's no doubt that when it comes -- when it came to the health care rollout, even though i was meeting every other week or every three weeks with folks and emphasizing how important it was that consumers had a good experience and easy experience in getting the information they need and knowing what the choices and options were for them to be able to get high quality affordable health care, the fact is it didn't happen in the first month. first six weeks in a way that was at all acceptable. and since i'm in charge, obviously, we screwed it up.
how i.t. procurement is generally done, almost predates this year, part of it has to do with the fact that there were not clear enough lines of authority in terms of who was in charge of the technology and cracking the whip on a whole bunch of contractors. there are a whole bunch of things that we've been taking a look at and making appropriate adjustments once we get through this year and we've gotten through the initial surge of people signing up. but, having said all of that, bottom line also is that we've got several million people will have health care that works. it's not that i don't engage in a lot of self-reflection, i promise you i probably beat myself up any worse than you or ed henry does -- on any given
day. but i've also got to wake up in the morning and make sure that i do better the next day. and that we keep moving forward. when i look at the landscape, for next year, what i say to myself is, we're poised to do really good things. the economy is strongest than it has been in a very long time. our next challenge is to make sure everybody benefits from that, not just a few folks. and there's still too many people who haven't seen a raise and are still feeling financially insecure. we can get immigration reform done. we have a concept that has bipartisan support. let's see if we can break through the politics on this. i think hopefully folks have learned their lesson in terms of brinkzmanship coming out of the government shutdown.
there have been times where i thought about were there other ways i could have prevented that -- those three, four weeks that hampered the economy and hurt individual families who were not getting the paycheck during that time? absolutely. but i also think that in some ways given the pattern we've been going through with house republicans for a while, we might have needed just a little bit of a bracing sort of recognition this is not what the american people think is acceptable. they want us to try to solve problems and be practical, even if we can't get everything done. yeah, the end of a year is always a good time to reflect and see what can you do better next year. that's how i intend to approach it. i'm sure he will have even better ideas after a couple of days of sleep and sun.
>> lose its ability to pay its bill come february or early march. paul ryan said they are going to decide what they can do on the debt ceiling. will you negotiate with house republicans on the debt ceiling? >> no, we're not going to negotiate for congress to pay bills. here's the good news. i want to em iffif a size the positive as we head into the holiday season. i think congressman ryan and senator murray did a good job in trying to narrow the differences and actually pass a budget that i can sign. it's not everything i would like
obviously. it buys back part of the across the board cuts but not all of it. we're still underfunding the search and education and transportation and other initiatives that would create jobs right now. but, you know, it was an honest conversation. they operated in good faith and given how far apart the parties have been on fiscal issues, they should take pride in what they did. i actually called them after they struck the deal and i said congratulations and hope that creates a good pattern for next year. where we work on at least the things we agree to even if we agree to disagree open some of the other big ticket items. i think immigration potentially falls in that category where less -- here's an area where we got bipartisan agreement. there are a few differences here and there. the truth of the matter is that the senate bill has the main
components of comprehensive immigration reform that would boost our economy, give -- give us an opportunity to attract more investment and high skilled workers who are doing great things in places like silicon valley and across the country. let's go ahead and get that done. now, i can't imagine that having seen this possible daylight breaking when it comes to cooperation in congress, that folks are thinking about plunging us back into the kinds of brinksmanship and governance by crisis that has done us so much harm over the last couple of years. to repeat, the debt ceiling is raised simply to pay bills we have already approved.
it is not something that is a negotiating tool. it's not leverage. it's the responsibility of congress. it's part of doing their job. i expect them to do their job. although, i'm happy to talk to them about any of the issues that they actually want to get done. if congress ryan is interested in tax reform, let's go. i have some proposals. if he's interested in any issue out there, i'm willing to have a constructive conversation in resolving budget issues. but i've got to assume folks aren't crazy enough to start that thing all over again. >> on a more personal note, what is your new year's resolution? >> my new year's resolution is to be nicer to the white house press corps. [ laughter ] >> absolutely.
>> quite a lead-in, mr. president, thank you. the head of the nsa task force told "60 minutes." it was worth having a conversation about granting snowden amnesty. under what circumstances would you consider either a plea agreement or amnesty for snowden, and what do you say to americans who after possibly being alerted to judge leon's decision, believe edward snowden set in motion something that is proper and just in this country about the scope of the surveillance and should not be considered by the government a criminal? >> i've got to be careful here, major, because mr. snowden is under indictment. he's been charged with crimes and that's the problems of the attorney general and ultimately
a judge and jury. so i can't weigh in specifically on this case at this point. i'll make -- i'll try to see if i can get at the spirit of the question even if i can't talk about the specifics. i've said before and i believe that this is an important conversation that we needed to have i've also said before that the way in which these disclose you'res happened have been damaging to the united states and damaging to our intelligence capabilities. and i think there was a way for us to have this conversation without that damage. i'll give you one specific example. the fact of the matter is that the united states for all of our wars is a country that abides by rule of law and that cares deeply about privacy and that
cares about civil liberties and cares about our constitution and as a consequence of these disclosures, we have people who actually do the things that mr. snowden says he's worried about very explicitly engaging in surveillance of their own citizens, targeting political dissidents, targeting and suppressing the press, who somehow are able to sit on the sidelines and act as if it's the united states that has problems when it comes to surveillance and intelligence operations. and that's a pretty distorted view of what's going on out there. so i think that as important and as necessary as this debate has been, it is also important to
keep in mind that this has done unnecessary damage to u.s. intelligence capabilities and u.s. diplomacy. but i will leave it up to the courts and the attorney general to weigh in publicly on the specifics mr. snow den's case. >> snow, if i can follow up, mr. leggett is setting in this motion, the reason this is a topic of conversation, you sir -- i'm certain would be consulted if there was going to be a conversation, amnesty or plea bargain. >> that's true, major. i guess what i'm saying -- >> who i'm saying is there's a difference between mr. leggett saying something and the united states saying something. that's exactly right. >> chuck todd. >> thank you, mr. president. and merry christmas and happy new year. you talk about the issues with health care and rollout, there
have been other issues, misinformation about people keeping policies and postponements, we have a new waiver that hhs announced last night. how do you expect americans to have confidence and certainty in this law if you keep changing it? this new waiver last night, you could argue you might as well delayed the mandate? >> no, that's not true. we're talking about a very specific population that received cancellation notices from insurance companies and majority of them are either keeping their old plan because the grandfather clause has been extended further or they are finding a better deal in the marketplace with better insurance or cheaper policies. but, there may still be a subset, a significantly smaller subset than some of the numbers that have been advertised that are still looking for options,
still concerned about what they are going to be doing next year. we just wanted to make sure that the hardship provision that was already existing in the law would also potentially apply to somebody who had problems during this transition period. so that's the specifics of this latest change. >> you're making the broader point that i think is fair and that is that in a big project like this, that what we are constantly doing is looking is this working the way it's supposed to and if there are adjustments that can be made to smooth out the transition, we should make them. but they don't go to the core of the law. first of all, the core of the law is that for 85% of the population, all they've been getting is free preventive care, better consumer ec