President Obama's news conference -- full text
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Enchanted? Enchanted. I will tell you that when I — when I meet our servicemen and -women, enchanted is probably not the word I would use. But I am so profoundly impressed and grateful to them for what they do. They're really good at their job. They are willing to make extraordinary sacrifices on our behalf. They do so without complaint. They are fiercely loyal to this country.Skip to next paragraph
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And, you know, the more I interact with our servicemen and -women, from the top brass down to the lowliest private, I'm just — I'm grateful to them.
Humbled by the — humbled by the fact that the presidency is extraordinarily powerful, but we are just part of a much broader tapestry of American life, and there are a lot of different power centers. And so I can't just press a button and suddenly have the bankers do exactly what I want or, you know, turn on a switch and suddenly, you know, Congress falls in line.
And so, you know, what you do is to — is to make your best arguments, listen hard to what other people have to say, and coax folks in the right direction.
This metaphor has been used before, but the ship of state is an ocean liner. It's not a speedboat. And so the way we are constantly thinking about this issue, of how to bring about the changes that the American people need, is to — is to say, if we can move this big battleship a few degrees in a different direction, you may not see all the consequences of that change a week from now or three months from now, but 10 years from now or 20 years from now, our kids will be able to look back and say, that was when we started getting serious about clean energy. That's when health care started to become more efficient and affordable. That's when we became serious about raising our standards in education.
And — and so I — I have a much longer time horizon than I think you do when you're a candidate or if you're listening, I think, to the media reportage on a day-to-day basis.
And I'm humbled, last, by the American people who have shown extraordinary patience and I think a recognition that we're not going to solve all of these problems overnight.
OK. Lori Montenegro?
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, when you met with the Hispanic Caucus a few weeks ago, reports came out that the White House was planning to have a forum to talk about immigration and bring it to the forefront.
Going forward, my question is, what is your strategy to try to have immigration reform? And are you still on the same timetable to have it accomplished in the first year of your presidency?
And, also, I'd like to know if you're going to reach out to Sen. John McCain, who is Republican and in the past has favored immigration reform?
OBAMA: Well, we reach out to — to Sen. McCain on a whole host of issues. He has been a leader on immigration reform. I think he has had the right position on immigration reform. And I would love to partner with him and others on what is going to be a critical issue.
We've also worked with Sen. McCain on what I think is a terrific piece of legislation that he and Carl Levin have put together around procurement reform. We want that moved, and we're going to be working hard with them to get that accomplished.
What I told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is exactly what I said the very next day in a town hall meeting and what I will continue to say publicly, and that is we want to move this process.