First thread and embedded video here.
12:14 PM PT: Next question half-begs Obama to use the word “shellacking” again, and then turns to immigration executive order. Obama says “there’s no doubt Republicans had a good night,” making reporters who wanted a “shellacking” soundbite very, very sad.
12:17 PM PT: “In terms of immigration, I have consistently said that it is my profound interest and preference to have Congress act on a comprehensive immigration bill.” Talks about Senate bill as being a good bill to demonstrate what he’d like to see Congress do. However, he says, Boehner told him he couldn’t get it through the House—even though Boehner, Obama says, wanted to pass it. As a result, Obama says he told Boehner that in the absence of Congressional action, he would take executive action to do as much as he can to deal with the immigration problem. “That’s a commitment I made to John Boehner, that I would act in the absence of action, so before the end of the year I will take whatever lawful actions” are possible.
12:18 PM PT: The president says he still hopes Congress will get a bill done, one that would supplant his executive actions. “But what I’m not going to do is just wait,” he says. “I think it’s fair to say I’ve shown a lot of patience.”
12:18 PM PT: Obama says he won’t offer details about the actions that he will take until he unveils them.
12:21 PM PT: Asked about why Republicans had a good night, Obama wisely passes on the opportunity to become a political pundit and says it’s the job of the pundit corps to do that sort of analysis. It’s his job to be a good president, he says, and he reminds people that the country is better off today than it was when he took office. Good stuff here.
12:23 PM PT: On the question of whether taking executive action will make it harder for Congress to pass immigration reform, Obama says simply and correctly: If people in Congress are worried about passing a bill, the best way to get a bill done is to go ahead and “pass a bill.” And that bill they pass can supplant any executive actions he takes, rendering them moot. He says he’s been plenty patient, and the argument that he could poison the well rings hollow. In short: If Congress wants to take action, it should take action.
12:25 PM PT: I suspect some GOP heads will assplodin’ in the wake of this press conference, not because Obama has been churlish or rude, but simply because he had the audacity to stride up to the podium without first offering his resignation.
12:29 PM PT: A question about the prospects for a nuclear deal with Iran, whether Congress would need to approve such a deal, and his approach to the AUMF against ISIL. On the AUMF he says he’s having the CENTCOM Commander make a presentation to congressional leaders on what he needs. He says the goal is to update existing AUMFs to be focused on the current situation rather than staying focused on Iraq/Afghanistan and being stuck in 2001.
12:33 PM PT: On Iran: “They’ve come to the table and they’ve negotiated seriously” as a result of “crippling sanctions.” Obama says there has been progress, and whether a final deal can be accomplished will become clear in the next few weeks. It’s “an open question” he says. The reporter follows up on whether or not Obama needs congressional approval to implement any deal. His answer: “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.” He says if he gets a deal that will avoid a nuclear Iran, then that will be the time to go to Congress. He also says: “I’d rather have no deal than a bad deal.”
12:36 PM PT: Ed Henry of Fox asks Obama why he won’t “admit you need to take a dramatic change of course” in the last two years of his presidency, and then asks why aren’t we beating ISIL yet. Somehow, Obama avoids laughing in Henry’s face, though I do think I detected a slight chuckle before proceeding to address it with a lengthy discussion of the nature of groups in Syria. I suspect he’s trying to make Henry regret having asked the question.
12:38 PM PT (Barbara Morrill): New thread here.