Obama Discusses Economy, Libya, Afghanistan

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 1:50 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the American economy, Libya and Afghanistan in a wide-ranging press conference at the White House Wednesday.

Mr. Obama called on Congress to take action that he said would strengthen the economy and help Americans, including approving trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

He said Congress must act soon to raise the government debt limit, while also reducing the U.S. budget deficit.

On Libya, he defended the three-month-old international military mission, saying the effort has protected thousands of people in the North African country. He said Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi needs to step down to ensure the safety of Libyans.

Mr. Obama also responded to criticism in Congress about Libya, saying he is not violating the War Powers Resolution, a U.S. law that requires congressional approval within 60 days if U.S. forces are involved in hostilities.

On Afghanistan, he said the United States is drawing down its forces responsibly, and will continue to keep pressure on al-Qaida, even as U.S. forces leave the country. He said it is in U.S. national interest that the government of Afghanistan not be allowed to collapse, because that could give al-Qaida a chance to rebuild. He said the troop drawdown comes after 10 “very long” years of war.

On domestic affairs, he called for national comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the need to uphold laws as well as the country's tradition as a nation of immigrants. Also, he said the legalization of gay marriage in New York was part of what he called a “profound recognition” that gays, lesbians and transgender people should be treated like every other American.