Obama Talks Petraeus Scandal In First Post-Election Press Conference
What started as the president's first press conference since his re-election quickly became a question and answer session about national security and the scandal surrounding Gen. David Petraeus. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
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The president was prepared to talk about the economy, but instead, it was the sex scandal reaching the military's highest ranks that got the leadoff question.
David Petraeus' resignation from CIA chief is only touching off more confusion. For one, should the president, and the American people, have known as early as this summer that the four-star general was under an FBI probe?
"I am withholding judgment with respect to how the entire process surrounding General Petraeus came up," Obama said. "We don't have all the information yet."
It all could be dismissed as Washington gossip were it not for the September attack in Libya, which killed four Americans.
Petraeus will testify before a Senate investigation about how well the CIA was prepared. But Republicans want a larger Watergate-style committee to probe a White House cover up, particularly UN Ambassador Susan Rice, whom Senator John McCain is suggesting isn't very bright.
"If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and other want to go after somebody, they should go after me, and I'm happy to have that discussion with them," Obama said.
While Obama had tough words for McCain, he was conciliatory with his most recent opponent. He says he and Mitt Romney may meet to talk about economic issues.
As expected, the president was asked if his victory entitled him to a mandate. Obama seemingly had an answer prepared.
"I've got a mandate to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to get into the middle class," he said.
The Democrat again says Congress should keep tax rates as is for those making under $250,000 a year. They will expire in January. It should be increased rates for those making more, he says, dismissing talk that loophole closures would make up the difference.
Finally, Obama says Sandy is prompting new ideas to stop climate change. Those words brought kudos from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed Obama just before Election Day, citing the environment.