President Obama's news conference -- full text
(Page 9 of 13)
The reason I'm pro-choice is because I don't think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.Skip to next paragraph
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So — so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.
And so I've got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.
Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that's — that's where I'm going to focus.
Q: Thank you, Mr. President.
During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office? Enchanted you the most from serving in this office? Humbled you the most? And troubled you the most?
OBAMA: Now let me write this down.
OBAMA: I've got ...
Q: Surprised, troubled ...
OBAMA: I've got — what was the first one?
OBAMA: Enchanted, nice.
Q: And humbled.
OBAMA: And what was the last one, humbled?
Q: Humbled. Thank you, sir.
OBAMA: All right. OK. Surprised. I am surprised compared to where I started, when we first announced for this race, by the number of critical issues that appear to be coming to a head all at the same time.
You know, when I first started this race, Iraq was a central issue, but the economy appeared on the surface to still be relatively strong. There were underlying problems that I was seeing with health care for families and our education system and college affordability and so forth, but obviously, I didn't anticipate the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
And so, you know, the typical president, I think, has two or three big problems. We've got seven or eight big problems. And so we've had to move very quickly and I'm very proud of my team for the fact that we've been able to keep our commitments to the American people, to bring about change, while at the same time managing a whole host of issues that had come up that weren't necessarily envisioned a year-and-a-half ago.
Troubled? I'd say less troubled, but, you know, sobered by the fact that change in Washington comes slow. That there is still a certain quotient of political posturing and bickering that takes place even when we're in the middle of really big crises.
I would like to think that everybody would say, You know what? Let's take a time-out on some of the political games, focus our attention for at least this year, and then we can start running for something next year. And that hasn't happened as much as I would have liked.