Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Features

January 14, 2013

President Obama's end-of-term press conference

(Continued)

Washington, D.C. —

 
 
 
We can achieve that, and we can achieve it fairly quickly.  I mean, we know what the numbers are.  We know what needs to be done.  We know what a balanced approach would take.  We’ve already done probably more than half of the deficit reduction we need to stabilize the debt and the deficit.  There’s probably been more pain and drama in getting there than we needed.  And so finishing the job shouldn’t be that difficult -- if everybody comes to the conversation with an open mind, and if we recognize that there are some things, like not paying our bills, that should be out of bounds.
 
 
 
     All right.  I’m going to take one last question.  Jackie Calmes.
 
 
 
     Q    Thank you, Mr. President.
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.
 
 
 
     Q    I’d like to ask you, now that you’ve reached the end of your first term, starting your second, about a couple of criticisms -- one that’s longstanding, another more recent.  The longstanding one seems to have become a truism of sorts that you’re -- you and your staff are too insular, that you don’t socialize enough.  And the second, the more recent criticism is that your team taking shape isn’t diverse -- isn’t as diverse as it could be, or even was, in terms of getting additional voices, gender, race, ethnic diversity.  So I’d like you to address both of those.
 
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Sure.  Let me take the second one first.  I’m very proud that in the first four years we had as diverse, if not more diverse, a White House and a Cabinet than any in history.  And I intend to continue that, because it turns out that when you look for the very best people, given the incredible diversity of this country, you’re going to end up with a diverse staff and a diverse team.  And that very diversity helps to create more effective policymaking and better decision-making for me, because it brings different perspectives to the table. 

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