10 23 2014
  9:31 am  
     •     
McMenamins

Highlights of President Barack Obama's television interviews broadcast Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," NBC's "Meet the Press," ABC's "This Week," CNN's "State of the Union" and Univision's "Al Punto." The interviews were taped Friday at the White House:
Health care:
He said requiring people to get health insurance and fining them if they don't would not amount to a backhanded tax increase. "I absolutely reject that notion," the president said.
Economy:
He isn't ready to close the book on the recession. Only last week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the worst recession since the 1930s probably was over. Obama said while there are signs the economy is going to start growing again, he'll leave it to Bernanke to say whether it's officially over or not.
Afghanistan:
He has no deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces and pledged there will not be an indefinite American occupation. He said he won't base any war decision on "the politics of the moment."
Osama bin Laden:
He said a tightly focused war strategy in Afghanistan will help with the hunt for the elusive al-Qaida leader. He said he knew getting bin Laden would be hard.
Russia:
He dismissed criticism that Russian opposition influenced his decision to scrap a European missile defense system. He said it will be a bonus if Russia's leaders end up "a little less paranoid" about the U.S.
North Korea:
He said the leader of reclusive North Korea is "pretty healthy and in control," based on the assessment the president got from former President Bill Clinton after Clinton returned to the U.S. in August with two American journalists who had been detained by the North. Kim Jong Il, 67, is believed to have suffered a stroke last year.
Swine flu:
The first family will follow the rules like every one else in waiting in line for the vaccine. "When folks say it's our turn, that's when we'll get it," he said.
CIA interrogations:
He does not plan to ask the Justice Department to end its criminal investigation into the harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists during the Bush administration. Seven former CIA directors have asked him to do just that.
Cuba concert:
He said cultural diplomacy with Cuba can be helpful to a point and that the effect of performances such as the concert set for Sunday in Havana by Colombian singer Juanes should not be overstated. Obama said the event carried no U.S. stamp of approval.

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