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Obama suggests time to kick Russia to curb after latest (Snowden) snub

Published: Fri, August 9, 2013 @ 11:14 p.m.


Responding to critics, President Barack Obama promised on Friday to work with Congress on "appropriate reforms" for the domestic surveillance programs that have stirred criticism at home and abroad. He also said it is time to recalibrate the United States' relationship with Russia, which is harboring NSA secrets leaker Edward Snowden.

"It's not enough for me to have confidence in these programs," the president declared of NSA domestic intelligence-gathering programs at a White House news conference, one day before his scheduled departure on a weeklong vacation. "The American people have to have confidence in them as well."

The president announced a series of changes in a program begun under the anti-terror Patriot Act that was passed in the wake of the attacks of Sept, 11, 2001. But none of the moves would alter the basic core of the program, the collection of millions of Americans' phone records.

As for Snowden, recently granted temporary asylum by Russia, Obama said he is not a patriot, as some have suggested, and challenged him to return to the United States to face espionage charges.

On Russia, Obama said that given recent differences over Syria, human rights and Snowden, it is "probably appropriate for us to take a pause, reassess where it is that Russia is going ... and recalibrate the relationship."

The hour-long news conference ranged over numerous issues, although the president became especially animated when the questions turned to Republicans in Congress. He said they would risk the wrath of the public if they vote to shut down the government this fall in an attempt to cut off funding for his signature health care law.

And on another congressional issue, he said that while he was open to House Republicans proposing an alternative immigration bill, his preference was for a vote on a Senate-passed measure that would combine border security with a chance at citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

He said he was "absolutely certain" such a bill would pass in the GOP-controlled U.S. House.

He did not mince words about the United States' deteriorating relationship with Russia. He said President Vladimir Putin's recent decision to grant asylum to Snowden was merely the latest in a series of differences between the two countries, including a response to the Syrian civil war and to human rights issues.

"I've encouraged Mr. Putin to look forward rather than backward," Obama said, evoking memories of relations between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

The president, who just this week canceled a planned summit meeting with Putin, said he does not want the United States to boycott the upcoming 2014 Olympics scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, as a protest against Russian treatment of homosexuals.

"One of the things I'm really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which I think would go a long way in rejecting the kinds of attitudes that we're seeing here," he said. "And if Russia doesn't have gay or lesbian athletes, then that would probably make their team weaker."

On the U.S. economy, Obama said he has a range of candidates he is considering to become chairman of the Federal Reserve, a nomination he likened in importance to selecting a Supreme Court justice. Among the contenders are former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Janet Yellen, the vice chair of the Fed, he said, adding that whoever replaces Ben Bernanke must focus his attention on keeping inflation in check and helping strengthen the recovery from the worst recession in decades.

While saying he won't pick a Fed chairman until the fall, he expressed irritation at critics of Summers, including some Democrats in Congress, whom Obama said were engaging in "a standard Washington exercise that I don't like" of launching pre-emptive attacks before an appointment has been made.

The president and his family are due to depart the White House on Saturday for a weeklong vacation at Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.


1bmanresident(607 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

It's time we boot that bum Obuma out of office!!! The list of scandals and Big Brother government just keeps on growing under his administration. This is the most corrupt, tyrannical administration in history!!! Get the schmuck outta office!

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2AtownAugie(891 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

What the petulant one needs to "recalibrate" is his snit over being schooled by Vlad.

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3papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

experts said that snowdens revelations have helped terrorist. he's a traitor.

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4sknirak(120 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

He'll finish his term in office, much to the detriment of this country. He's untouchable for obvious reasons.

Obama may know law, but he is shaky on world history. Our rough relations with the Russians go back through the Cold War and were initiated with our involvement in Northern Russia in 1918 when the First World War was finally coming to an end.

Yeah, he needs to be gone from office, but I doubt that is going to happen.

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5LtMacGowan(714 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Although I strongly disapprove of the NSA spying program which has been building in size and scope since the 1970s. Sorry Tea drinkers he didn't wave his magic Marxist wand and create it.

That being said I'd probably vote for Obama yet again if he was running against the likes of McSame/Crazy Lady, and Tin Man/Ryan. Snowden enlisted as a soldier and I believe he honored his oath to defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I only wish that when I was in the Army if I had been presented with such flagrantly unAmerican, unconstitutional facts that I would have had the courage that Snowden and PFC Manning had of their convictions.

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6MFC997(261 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

This country has survived a lot of things over the course of its history. It will survive Barack Obama. Then he will go back to living in his own little world , but not before destroying the Democratic Party in the process. It is all about him 24/7.

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7jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

gdog is a demo - c - rat.

Obama is starting to make Joe Biden look like an awesome alternative.

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8FormerYtowner(96 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

ytownomg, you are obviously "lackingbrainpowertoopenapackofmatches.": If you would just take a simple five minutes to do some fact finding instead of listen to Faux Noise,, you would be better off.

While Obama has had his hand in the deficit, this also proves who else contributed to it ..http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/gop-presidents-have-been-the-worst-contributors-to-the-federal-debt/264193/

simple facts.

As far as vacations..

screw off.

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9papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

the deficit has been cut almost in half but the repubs won't tell you that. it's too bad people aren't paying attention. that's what the repubs count on so they can spread their lies.

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1076Ytown(1364 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

papa1: The deficit cut in half? It's over $800 billion and our debt is over $16,896 trillion and growing. That's $148,000 debt per taxpayer. If you think those numbers are eye-popping drop down to the bottom of the page to see the social security liability numbers!


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11MFC997(261 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Obama is getting defiant because he is running out of time and everything connected to his "legacy" is sinking fast. The Stimulus was a bust. Unemployment is STILL over 7% five years later. Zerocare is an albatross, getting more unpopular by the day, hung around the Democratic Party's neck. He cut and run out of Iraq which is now officially a powder keg. He can't wait to cut and run out of AfPak. Assad laughs at him in Syria. Egypt is in chaos because his Muslim buddies tried to create a theocracy. Our ambassador in Libya is dead and one year later we have no bleeping clue why. He's presiding over an IRS and NSA that makes Tricky Dick look Washingtonian in comparison. Half the country is either on disability or Food Stamps. Edward Snowden is hanging out in Moscow with his good friend Vlad the Impaler AND .. by Fall 2014 the "crazy" GOP will control both the House and the Senate. So ... what has he really done .. ?? Beaten two stiffs, made the no-brainer call to have the SEAL's take out OBL, after sitting on it for six months, and raised the top income tax rate a few percentage points. That, in essence, will be it when we look back on this wondrous reign of Barry Obama, but he will still remain a legend. In his own mind of course, as always.

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12papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

there is still 8 billion dollars missing in Iraq. I wonder where it went?

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13jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

gdog, please put on your thinking cap for just 1 second & think.

If Bush wouldn't have attacked Iraq, & Saddam would still be alive today, his neighbor, Iran, is very close to having THE BOMB. Do you for 1 minute believe that Saddam would be sitting idly by & not researching THE BOMB? Can you imagine these 2 rogue nations with THE BOMB? I can't.

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14jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey formeryoungstowner, your link is written by a black very liberal political writer who is in love with Obama. 'nuff said.
Why don't you read an article, anti Obama, by George Will?

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15jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Obama & wordplay. Thus continues the administration’s penchant for wordplay, the bending of language to fit a political need. In Janet Napolitano’s famous formulation, terror attacks are now “man-caused disasters.” And the “global war on terror” is no more. It’s now an “overseas contingency operation.”

Nidal Hasan proudly tells a military court that he, a soldier of Allah, killed 13 American soldiers in the name of jihad. But the massacre remains officially classified as an act not of terrorism but of “workplace violence.”

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others are killed in an al-Qaeda-affiliated terror attack — and for days it is waved off as nothing more than a spontaneous demonstration gone bad. After all, famously declared Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make?

Well, it makes a difference, first, because truth is a virtue. Second, because if you keep lying to the American people, they may seriously question whether anything you say — for example, about the benign nature of NSA surveillance — is not another self-serving lie.

And third, because leading a country through yet another long twilight struggle requires not just honesty but clarity. This is a president who to this day cannot bring himself to identify the enemy as radical Islam. Just Tuesday night, explaining the U.S. embassy closures across the Muslim world, he cited the threat from “violent extremism.”

The word “extremism” is meaningless. People don’t devote themselves to being extreme. Extremism has no content. The extreme of what? In this war, an extreme devotion to the supremacy of a radically fundamentalist vision of Islam and to its murderous quest for dominion over all others.

But for President Obama, the word “Islamist” may not be uttered. Language must be devised to disguise the unpleasantness.

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16papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

the deficit has gone down. maybe not half but substancially. check it out on a non biased website.

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17jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

papa, stop watching MSNBC. You are one of the last 9 people viewing that channel.

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18AllCapsGrandpa(12 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago


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19kurtw(1823 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

The trouble with Republicans- most of them- is that they're all wimpy. They have convictions- or, at least they say they do, but, then, when "push comes to shove" any convictions they might have had get conveniently thrown overboard. John McCain, Bush the Younger, Mitt (with a name like that what can you expect?) Romney and, lately, John Portman and Mario Rubio all fit that pattern. They say they have character, but, in a pinch, they all show themselves to be gutless (or should I say "Ball less"?)

Why would that be? What turns a strong, principled leader with courage and convictions into a wimp? Answer: WOMEN

I mean, lets face it, most prominent politicians are married men and we all know that wives exercise extraordinary powers of persuasion over their husbands (Pillow Talk!) and, my theory is, that the politicians who do best are the ones married to women whose ideology and beliefs are the same as their own.

That explains, among Republicans, Ronald Reagan's extraordinary success as a leader- he was married to a woman, Nancy, whose views were close to his own and their intimacy was incredible- he wrote her every day. It explains, among Democrats, Obama's success and Bill Clinton's also- they're both married to women whose Ideology is roughly the same as their own (in fact, more so, I would say Hillary and Michelle are even more wacko than their husbands- if that's possible).

Now compare that to- a typical example among Republicans- Bush the Younger- married to Laura- who grew up a Liberal Democrat- became a Librarian (also suspect- I never met a Librarian who wasn't a Liberal) and then, for the entire time of their marriage, every night in bed... Pillow Talk- all of it in a Left Wing direction- that was her background- no wonder poor Bush emerged a Wimp (the Iraqi War was classic "Reaction Formation"- the Wimp trying to prove himself manly for the Wife- but, it was too late, because during their pillow talk, dear Laura had deftly reached over and snipped his balls away- metaphorically speaking. )

There is one major institution in the World today that proves my theory- The Roman Catholic Church- 2,000 years old and still going strong and for most of that time run by Single Men. Amen.

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20LtMacGowan(714 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

How did we go from discussing the abhorrent abomination that the NSA has become to the deficit?

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2176Ytown(1364 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

gdog4766 and papa1: Let me know what you mean by biased website. Go back to USdebtclock.org again. Hover your mouse over any of the numbers to see the government sources. Yes, these numbers are painful but true.

I agree, the deficit has gone down slightly due to increased taxes and some decreased spending but not nearly enough. Debt is what we owe and deficit is the shortfall between what we take in and what we spend. It's like getting paid $2743 each month, but spending 3540...an additional $800 (borrowed) which adds to our debt. each month. That is down from earlier this year when we were spending (borrowing) an additional $1000 per month. We need to kick our deficit into spending less than what we take in and putting that to our deficit.

As for social security and unfunded liabilities...we're broke!

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22jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey kurtw, you should consider becoming a FICTION writer. You might sell 7 or 8 paperbacks.

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23AllCapsGrandpa(12 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago


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24jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

A good analogy, of the state of affairs in Washington DC, is Nero fiddling while Rome burned, is Obama fiddling while Washington is on fire.

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25southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Obama will not kick anyone...he needs all the "friends" he can muster

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26jojuggie(1723 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

■A one-way ticket for the president’s dog BO to fly to their vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard
Crazy eh? In a world where our troops are going without hot meals, government employees are being furloughed, Americans can only find part-time work, White House tours have been discontinued and a slew of other painful impacts from this sequester, our president, the man who so adamantly proclaims he is in touch with and cares for the middle class, spent $40,000 of their hard-earned dollars on flying his dog ONE WAY separately to their vacation home. Can you imagine the outrage if President Bush had done this? Obama hasn’t been impeached over real scandals like Benghazi and the IRS, but I would bet money the Democrats would have found a way to impeach Bush for a $40,000 plane ride for his pups.

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27NilesOhio(996 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

"they would risk the wrath of the public if they vote to shut down the government this fall" - Seriously?!?

I'd LOVE it if the government shut down. No more free money to people who refuse to work. No more congress, or the Senate, or the House. I highly doubt they'd allow it go offline and miss out on all the federal taxes being collected from the working people, though.

It's sad, but we're better off without them.

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28handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

You Donkeycrats helped put Obama the terrorist in office all this time we're not calling you traitors "sheeple" perhaps but not traitors

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292616hillmanst(1 comment)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Hilliary Clinton 2016 I cant wait

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