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Obama Addresses Petraeus, Financial Cliff At Press Conference [VIDEO]

President Barack Obama says he has no evidence that the scandal that ended former Gen. David Petraeus’ career had a negative impact on national security.

President Barack Obama holds a news conference in the East Room of the White House
President Barack Obama holds a news conference in the East Room of the White House (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his first comments on the scandal, Obama tells a White House news conference that from what he’s seen, no classified information was disclosed that would harm national security.

The president spoke five days after Petraeus resigned as head of the Central Intelligence Agency after disclosing he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Obama says he’s withholding judgment on the timing of the revelations that Petraeus was under investigation.

Officials have said that Obama was not told about the investigation until after the election. He says he has “a lot of confidence generally” in the FBI, which is conducting the inquiry.

US can’t afford across-the-board tax hike

Obama says the economy cannot afford a tax increase on all Americans. He’s calling on congressional Republicans to support an extension of existing tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less.

Obama says he is confident that he and Congress can reach an agreement that avoids a so-called “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 1, when all tax rates would revert to Clinton-era levels and a series of deep spending cuts kick in.

Obama addressed the fiscal cliff at the opening of a press conference Wednesday in the White House.

Obama says he will not agree to any budget deal that extends current tax rates for the wealthiest taxpayers, saying their rates should rise to help raise revenue. He says his stand was validated by voters in the election.

Congressional Republicans have said they would be willing to include new tax revenue in a deficit reduction deal. But they have been adamant that the tax rates themselves must not increase.

Obama defends Rice in face of GOP opposition

President Obama is defending U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in the aftermath of the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya and calling Republican criticism of her outrageous.

Obama pushed back against GOP senators who said they would do whatever is necessary to scuttle Rice’s nomination if the president picks her to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The president said if Sen. John McCain wants to go after someone, he should challenge the president, not Rice.

McCain told reporters earlier Wednesday that he would do all he could to block a Rice nomination.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he didn’t trust Rice.

 ’Still time’ to resolve Iran nuke dispute

Press gathered for President Obama's press conference in the East Room of the White House
Press gathered for President Obama’s press conference in the East Room of the White House (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Obama says there is still time for the United States and Iran to resolve an impasse over Iran’s nuclear program.

Obama said at a news conference Wednesday that there should be a way for Iran to enjoy “peaceful nuclear power” while still meeting international obligations and providing assurances that they are not developing nuclear weapons.

Obama said he “can’t promise that Iran will walk through the door they need to walk through,” but he wants to see a diplomatic solution.

Iran is weighing a more confrontational strategy over its nuclear program, threatening to boost levels of uranium enrichment unless the West agrees to ease sanctions that have harmed Iran’s economy.

The White House has indicated willingness to pursue one-on-one talks with Iran, but no deal has been reached.

 Immigration reform to start early next year

Obama says America must “seize the moment” to seek an overhaul of the immigration system and he expects that work to start soon after his inauguration for a second term.

Obama says conversations are already taking place among his staff and members of Congress.

The president says comprehensive immigration reform should include a path to legal status for those who came to the U.S. illegally seeking work. He says those immigrants should pay back taxes, learn English and potentially pay fines.

Obama is urging lawmakers to codify his decision earlier this year to stop deporting young illegal immigrants brought here by their parents.

He says the country needs to build on momentum from the last week’s election.

Obama hopes to meet with Romney before year’s out

President Obama
President Obama (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Obama says he hasn’t yet scheduled a meeting with Republican Mitt Romney.

The President said he hopes to have the chance to talk with Romney before the end of the year.

Obama said the election was only a week ago, and that everybody needs to catch their breath.

He said he thinks Romney did a terrific job with the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Obama said he’s not pre-judging how the former Massachusetts governor may be interested in helping the country, nor does he have a specific assignment — but Obama said he does want to talk about some of Romney’s ideas.

 

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