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tv   Today  NBC  November 16, 2015 10:00am-11:00am EST

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we don't believe he has a role because of bruce l rule his war against the syrian people is root cause of this crisis. what's different this time and what gives us some degree of hope is that as i said for the first time all of the major countries on all sides of the syrian conflict agree on a process that is needed to end this war. while we are very clear about the very, very difficult road still ahead, the united states and partnership with our coalition is going to remain relentless on all fronts, military, humanitarian and diplomatic. we have the right strategy and we will see it through. with that i will take some questions and i will begin with jerome
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it makes is more attractive for their recruits. so when we say that they spread controlled less territory than last year. and the more we shrink that territory, the less they can pretend that they're somehow a functioning state. and the more it becomes apparent that they're simply a network of killers who are brutalizing local populations.
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flow of foreign fighters, which over time will let's not the number of terrorists, who can potentially carry out the attacks like they did with terrorists. and that's what we did with al qaeda. and that doesn't mean that al qaeda no longer possess the capabilities of striking the west. yemen, we know has consistently tried to target the west. and we're working to disrupt those acts. but despite the fact that they have not gotten as much attention as isil, they still pose a danger as well. so our goals here consistently have to be aggressive, and to leave no stone unturned, but
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not conventional warfare. we play into the isil narrative when we think they're a state. and we use routine military tactics that are designed to fight a state that is attacking another state. that's not what's going on here. these are killers. with fantasies of glory, who are very savvy when it comes to social media, and are able to infiltrate the minds of not just iraqis or syrians, but disaffected individuals around the world. and when they activate those individuals, those individuals can do a lot of damage. so we have to take the approach of being rigorous on our counter
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consistently improve and get more information and how we can infiltrate these networks and reduce their operational space, even as we try to shrink the amount of territory to ultimately defeat their narrative. ultimately to reclaim territory from them is going to require an ending of the syrian civil war, which is why the diplomatic efforts are so important. and it's going to require an effective iraqi effort that bridges shia and sunni differences. which is why our diplomatic efforts inside of iraq are so important as well. jim avila. >> thank you, mr. president. in the days and weeks before the paris attacks, did you receive a warning in your daily intelligence briefing that an
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if not, does that call into question the current assessment that there's no immediate credible threat to the united states today. and secondly, if i could ask you to address your critics and say that your reluctance to enter another middle east war, and over territory, makes the united states weaker and emboldens our enemies? >> jim, every day, we have threat streams coming through the intelligence transit. and as i say, for several weeks, we sit down with all of my national security intelligence and military teams to discuss various threat streams that may
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and the concerns about potential isil attacks in the west have been there for over a year now, and they come through periodically. there were no specific mentions of this particular attack that would give us a sense of something that we need -- that we could provide french authorities, for example, or act on ourselves. but typically, the way the intelligence works is, until be threat stream that is one source, power source, and perhaps some install intelligence gets picked up. it's evaluated, and some of it is extraordinarily specific, and there's a timetable, and some of it may be more specific, and
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then folks chase down that threat to see what happens. i'm not aware of anything that's specific in the sense that would have given a particular premonition about an act in paris that would allow for law enforcement military actions to disrupt it. with respect to the broader issue of my critics, to some degree i answered the question earlier. i think when you listen to what they actually have to say, what they're proposing, most of the time, when pressed, they describe things that we're already doing. maybe they're not aware that we're already doing them. some of them seem to think that if i were just more bell i cose in expressing what we're doing,
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difference. because that's the only thing that they're doing, talking as if they're tough. but i haven't seen particular strategies that would suggest that would make a real difference. now, there are a few exceptions. as i say, the primary exception is those who would deploy u.s. troops on a large scale to retake territory, either in iraq or now in syria. and at least they have the honesty to go ahead and say that's what they are going to to do. i would just address why i think they're wrong. there are some who are well meaning, and i don't doubt their sincerity when it comes to the issue of the dire humanitarian
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example call for a no-fly zone or a safe zone of some sort. and this is the example of the kind of issue where i will sit down with our to have military and intelligence advisers, and we will painstakingly go through what does something like that look like? and typically, after we have gone through a lot of planning and a lot of discussion, and really working it through, it is determined that it would be counter-productive to take those steps. in part because isil does not have planes, so the attacks are on the ground. a true safe zone requires us to set up ground operations. and the bulk of the deaths that have occurred in syria, for example, have come about not because of regime bombing, but
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because of on the ground casualties. who would come in and who would come out of that safe done? how would it work? would it become a nag net for further terrorist attacks in and how many personnel would be required? how would it end? there are a whole set of questions that have to be answered there. i guess my point is this, jim. my only interest is to end suffering and keep the american people safe. and if there's a good idea out there, we're going to do it. i don't think i've shown hesitation to act, whether it's with respect to win lauden, or sending additional troops to afghanistan, or keeping them there if it's determined that it's actually going to work.
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i do not do is to take actions, either because it is going to work politically, or it is going to somehow n. the abstract make america look tough, or make me look tough. and maybe part of the reason is because every few months i go to walter reed. and i see a 25-year-old kid who is paralyzed or has lost his limbs, and some of those are people i've ordered into battle. and so i can't afford to play some of the political games that others may. we'll do what's required to keep the american people safe. and i think it's entirely appropriate in a democracy to
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these issues. folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, pretty a specific plan. if they think that somehow their advisers are better than the chairman of my joint chiefs of staff, or the folks that are actually on the ground, i want to meet them. and we can have that debate. but what i'm not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of american leadership or america winning or whatever slogans they come up with, that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to
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and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and to protect our allies and people like france. i'm too busy for that. jim mccasa. >> thank you very much, mr. president. i wanted to go back to something that you said to margaret earlier, when you said that you have not underestimated isis abilities. this is an organization that you once described as jvt that is occupying it territory in iraq and syria and is using that safe haven to launch attacks in other parts of the world. and how is that not underestimating their capabilities and how is that not contained, quite frankly? a lot of people have the frustration that the united states has the greatest military in the world and the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to
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is, if you will forgive the language, why can't we take out these bastards? >> i just spent the last three questions answering that question, and i don't know what you want me to add. i think that i described very specifically what our strategy is, and why we do not pursue some of the other strategies staff been suggested. this is not, as i said, a traditional military opponent. we can retake territory. and as long as we leave our troops there, we can hold t but that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these violent extremist groups, so we're going
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to continue to pursue the strategy that has the best chance of working, even though it does not offer the satisfaction, i guess, of a neat headline, or an immediate resolution. and part of the reason, as i said, jim, is because there are costs to the other side. i just want to remind people that this is not an extraction. when we send troops in, those troops get injured, they get killed. they're away from their families. our country spends hundreds of billions of dollars. and so given the fact that there are enormous sacrifices involved in any military action, it's best that we don't shoot first
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and aim later. it's important for us to get the strategy right. and the strategy that we're pursuing is the right one. ron. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president, i think that a lot of people around the world and america are concerned because given the strategy that you're pursuing, and it has been more than a year now, isis's capabilities seem to be expanding. were you aware that they had the capability of pulling off the kind of attack that they did in paris? are you concerned, and do you think that they have that same capability to strike in the united states? and do you think that, given all you've learned about isis over the past year or so, and all of
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understand this enemy well enough to protect the homeland? >> this is another variation on the same question. and let me try it one last time. the -- we have been fully aware of the potential capabilities of them carrying out a terrorist attack, and that's precisely why we have been mounting a very them. as i said before, when you're talking about the ability of a handful of people, with not wildly sophisticated military equipment, weapons, who are willing to die, they can kill a
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and preventing them from doing so is challenging for every country. and if there was a swift and quick solution to this, i assure you that not just the united states, but france and turkey and others who have been subject to these terrorist attacks would have implemented those strategies. we hardened the hominess, set up additional steps to protect aviation, to apply lessons learned. we have seen much better cooperation between the fbi, state governments, local
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governments. geography with respect to united states, but with that, we have seen the possibility of terrorist attacks on our soil. there were the boston marathon result in the scale of death that we saw in paris, but that was a serious attempt at killing a lot of people by two brothers. and a crock pot. involved in this going forward, so again, isil has serious capabilities, and it's capabilities are not unique. the capabilities of terrorist organizations to posses as well,
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what is unique about isil is the degree to which it has been able to control territory that then allows them to attract additional recruits, and the greater effectiveness that they have on social media and the ability to use that not only to attract recruits to fight in syria, but to carry out attacks in the homeland and europe and other parts of the world. so our ability to shrink the space in which they can operate, combined with a resolution to the syria situation, which will reduce the prepare with which they feel they can operate. and getting local forces who are able to hold and keep them out, over the long-term, that is what's going to make a difference. and it's going to take some time. but it's not something that at any stage in this process, had
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we not been aware, needs to be done. okay, go ahead. i can hear you. >> reporter: [ unintelligible ] [ unintelligible ]. >> well, this is something that we spoke a lot about at the g-20.
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the overwhelming majority of victims of terrorism over the last several years, and certainly the overwhelming majority of victims of isil, are themselves muslims. isil does not represent islam, it is not representative in any way of the attitudes of the overwhelming majority of muslims. this is something that has been emphasized by muslim leaders, whether it's president erduwan, or the president of indonesia or malaysia, countries that are majority muslim, but have spoken themselves to be toll rand and work to be inclusive in their political process.
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terrible actions that took place in paris w. the abuse of islam, those kinds of stereotypes are counter-productive and wrong, and they will lead to i think greater recruitment in the terrorist organizions over time if this becomes somehow defined as a muslin problem as oppose to a terrorist problem. now, what is also true is that the most vicious terrorist organizations at the moment are ones that claim to be speaking on behalf of true muslims.
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around the world, religious leaders, political leaders, ordinary people, have to ask very serious questions about how did these extremist ideologies take root? even if it's only affecting a very small fraction of the population, it's real, and it is dangerous, and it's built up over time. and with social media, it's now accelerating. and so i think on the on the one hand, non-muslims cannot stereotype, but the muslim community needs to make sure that how we make sure that children are not being infected with the twisted notion that somehow they can kill innocent people and that's justified by religion, and to
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that has to come from within the muslim community itself. and i think that there are been times when there has not been enough pushback against extremism. there are some who say, we don't believe in violence, but they're not as willing to challenge some of the extremist thoughts or rationales for why muslims feel oppressed. and i think those ideas have to be challenged. let me make one last point about this. and then unfortunately, i have to take a flight to manila, and i'm looking forward to seeing manila, but i hope that i can come back to turkey when i'm not so busy. one of the places that you're seeing this debate play itself out is on the refugee issue. both in europe, and i gather it
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started popping up while i was gone back in the united states. the people who are fleeing syria are the the most harmed by terrorism. and as a consequence of civil war, by parents, by children, i was glad to see this confirmed in g to, that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence, and somehow,
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refugees with the issue of terrorism. in europe, i think that people like chancellor merkel have taken a very courageous stance, saying that it is our moral obligation as fellow human beings to help people in such vulnerable situations, and i know that it's putting enormous strains on the resources of the people of europe. nobody has been carrying a bigger burden than the people here in turkey, with 2 and a half million refugees, and the people of jord and not lebanon, who are also admitting refugees. the fact that they have kept their borders open to these refugees is a signal of their belief in a common humanity.
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so we have to each do our part. and the united states has to step up and do it's part. and when i hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the christians, but not the muslims, when i hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that's shameful. that's not american. that's not who we are. we don't have religious tests to
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when pope francis came to visit the united states and gave a speech before congress, he didn't just speak about christians who were being persecuted and he didn't call on catholic parishes to just admit those of the same faith. he said protect people who are vulnerable. so i think it is very important for us right now, particularly those who are in leadership, particularly those who have a platform and can be heard. heard, not to fall into that trap, and not to feed that dark impulse inside of us. i had a lot of disagreements with george w. bush on policy, but i was very proud, after
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>> 9/11, when he was adamant and clear that this is not a war on islam. and the notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in his party would ignore all of that, that's not who we are. on this, they should follow his example. it was the right one, it was the right impulse. it's our better impulse, and whether you're european, or american, you know, the values that we are defending, the values that we're fighting against isil for, are precisely that we don't discriminate against people because of their faith.
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we don't kill people because they're different from us. that's what separates us from them. and we don't feed that kind of notion. that somehow christians and muslims are at war. and if we want to be successful defeating isil, that's a good place to start, by not promoting that kind of ideology and attitude. in the same way that the muslim can't excuse anti-western sentiment, we have the same obligation as christians. and we are -- it is good to remember that the united states does not have a religious test, and we are a nation of many peoples of different faiths. which means that we show compassion to everybody. those with the universal values
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what my administration intends to stand for. all right? thank you very much. everybody. >> all right, so there you have it, the president making some comments there at the g20 and the united nations in turkey, talking about isil and the paris terror attacks, calling onmore notions to offer resources, and also closing out his remarks, by reminding americans that we should not be closing the door on the refugees, people coming across the border into france that he came across with the refugees, the president saying that this is not an excuse to close the borders to syrian refugees. >> he said at the end, that's not what his administration is goodabout, to keep that door open to be humanitarian, and closing the door is not the secret to success here.
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speaking for almost an hour, or almost an hour at the j20 summit in turkey. >> now we're going to do into an nbc special presidential candidate critics or otherwise have made and he used them as strong. i was surprised by his tone and defensiveness. he didn't channel what i think a lot of americans are feeling right now with a little bit of anger and resolve and recivil yancey. i get the policy argument that he's making that hey, this is the policy that's going to work and i don't think these other ideas are going to work. i was again, i go back to the tone of this press conference. extremely defensive and almost not yet realizing that many of the reporters in that room, they're channelling the public in this case, lester, as you know being in paris and we know where the public is there, but it's a lot of similar feelings
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here in the united states right now. so that's the part of this that just struck me as frankly an odd decision. not odd that he's sticking to his policies, odd in the tone he chose to use today. >> let me turn to an green i can't mitchell now. andrea, yesterday a sizable era attack against rocca. at the same time president obama was speaking and noted this attack was planned in syria, organized in belgium, carried out in france. so it makes you wonder whether a military operation would work against that kind of a threat. >> well, what the president is saying, just to continue on what chuck said, he is not going to put in ground forces. he's going to intensify the effort. like france, these are air strikes. air strikes backed up by training and equipping iraqis and working more closely with syrians on the ground.
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we know that the syrian piece of this has been a total failure and the iraqis have turned and runned every time they've been changed. the iraqi forces have not been stood up and the syrian forces have not been stood up and without people on the ground most military experts say this will not work. intelligence. he said there's not been an intelligence gap and there's a robust in constant individual lens. he meets with the advisers. he said no gap but just an hour or two ago cia director in washington said it's time for the u.s. and u.n. to look and see if there's cracks or gaps in the intelligence gatherings. look and see if they missed something before paris. >> richard angle seen in the streets of paris and syria even watching along with me. you noted that the president acknowledged something that was murky in the question of
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responsibility? >> he acknowledged this in fact was an isis attack. he called isis the face of evil. he said isis will be degraded and defeated which is reaffirm reaffirming his old policy. there have been talks this was al qaeda. some of the counter officials i spoke to in paris said there's no way this could be isis. isis isn't that good. he's acknowledging yes, this is an isis attack and we're going to do more and share more intelligence with france and intensify the current strategy. i think some of the defensiveness we've all seem to denoted came from the anger you can feel here in paris. you can read from the statements that are coming out of american politicians politicians. there seems to be once again this desire to do more and send troops in and go to war and i think the president was trying to dial that back saying we're going to do more strategy but not going to war.
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>> you and i were speaking and here on this plaza 10 months ago watching people do what we did lighting candles. it's a different atmosphere. at the time we were here because there's an attack on a newspaper publication people respond somewhat differently. >> very much differently. it's nice to say france is being resilient and these people are here. we are hearing that. it's different. when charlie's attack happened, people came out in the streets and there were tens of thousands, couple thousand people who marched in this square and holding up pins and it became a zem administration for the freedom of the press. charlie was them. it was a target against a magazine and french people came out and said we are with that magazine. we are charlie. this time, it was an attack against us. >> people sitting in cafe and theater. >> concert. that has people scared.
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>> let me quickly go back to chuck todd again talking about the political pressure that will mount at home. the president holding his standing fast here. what kind of pressure will he face? >> i tell you in the last point of what he made, he was passionate on the refugee issue. that's where the political pressure is going to heat up early and first. frankly, it's out of sort of the easiest thing for the public to di jest. it's where the republican primary is going to head. it's this issue of where we take in syrian refugees is going to be the first thing, first amount of political pressure that gets forced upon the line up. >> chuck todd, thank you very much. we are here in the square that's become the memorial site in paris. we'll have full coverage on nbc nightly news and what the presid [ male announcer ] pain not sitting too well? burning to feel better? itching for relief? preparation h offers the most maximum strength solutions for all hemorrhoid symptoms.
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and college experience as credits toward your degree. learn more at we are ten days away from thanksgiving. many have begun planning your menu. one more treat you'll want to add. >> definitely. ified contributor siri pinter is here with caramel pumpkin bread pudding. >> we have bower urbon and three spices. cinnamon, cloves, this is a cream and milk and all that. >> could you use any other pumpkin? >> yes, sometimes it's hard too find these. so we first just ripped it up and we're just going to put it
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it doesn't have to be anything. just big chunky bread. make it evenly spread. we're going to pour 6 tablespoons of melted butter. i like to sort of -- >> butter and bourbon. >> that's just butter. we're going to bake this for 20 minutes. ic lie to stir it half way through so it doesn't burn. here it is all crisp and golden. now we're going to cook our pumpkin. you have to skin it and dice it. make sure it's nice and sharp. two more tablespoons of butter. >> you have no idea. i'm surprised the bump pumpkin is not blue. >> that's a really sweet pumpkin. we're going to saute this until it cooks. then we're going to pour 3 tablespoons of sugar. this is where the caramel part comes in. it caramelizes the top.
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you cook it for three more minutes and get nice and soft. >> that's what it looks like. now we have four eggs. pour in some of the cream and the milk. >> all of it? >> all of it. you need to coat all the bread. >> i love that recipe. bourbon. you can add the sugar. >> more sugar. >> and all our spices. and then we're going to put the pumpkin in here. i'm going to grab the bread. >> al has a backup of bourbon. >> double the bourbon in this recipe. >> nice, kid-friendly recipe. it cooks out. we'll put all this bread in here. we're going to let that soak for like ten minutes. and then i have one cooking in the oven. then we put it in this buttered dish. so it's cooked for about 25
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minutes covered. then we're going to uncover it and throw our pecans on top. you can skip that if you have a nut allergy. it gives it a nice little crunch. then we're going to bake it a little more uncovered. for like another 20 minutes. >> you said it makes great leftovers. >> that's fantastic. >> let's grab a bite here. >> if you have a cooking question, go to and she'll answer your questions. we're back in a moment.
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