Asked whether he had painted himself into a corner with his strong statements of support for Ambassador Susan Rice despite the withering criticism she has faced on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama argued Tuesday the "most important thing" to be done for national security is for Republicans to cave on tax hikes and stop obstructing the president's agenda.
"The most important thing we can do for national security, though, is to get our economy on track," Obama said in the interview.
"We are in a very strong position. As I travel around the world, it’s fascinating; European leaders, Asian leaders, they all say to me, America is actually poised to be the world leader for another century—if we can fix some of this political dysfunction," he continued, before shifting back to talking points on the fiscal cliff. "There are some very simple steps we can take. Number one, let’s not raise taxes on middle-class families, that’s something we can do right now."
Other national security priorities include deficit reduction with provisions to do "job creation" now, averting a "manufactured" fiscal cliff stand-off, and "investments in education, workforce development, energy independence, infrastructure, and research and development."
"We've got a lot of national security challenges, but if we get our economy together, and if we can get our political system to work well, I am really confident about our future," Obama said.