Join us: We will be live-blogging President Barack Obama's year-end news conference at 2 p.m.
President Obama: In 2013, our businesses created another 2 million jobs, adding up to more than 8 million in just over the past 45 months. … The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in five years.
Obama: For all the challenges we’ve had … with the Affordable Care Act and the website, more than half a million Americans have enrolled on healthcare.gov in the first half of December alone. Millions of Americans, despite the problems with the website, are poised to have affordable health care come Jan. 1
Question (Julie Pace of AP): Despite all of the data points cited in your opening statement, very little of what your stated goals have been accomplished, and ratings from the public are near historic lows. Taken all together, has this been the worst year of your presidency?
Obama: That’s not how I think about it. If I look at this past year, there are areas where there is some frustration. There’s a lot of focus on legislative activity at the Congressional level … (but accomplishments include) the ConnectEd program that we announced that initiates wireless capacity in every classroom in America will make a huge difference for kids all across the country and for teachers.
Obama: There are indications in the House that they will try to move forward immigration reform legislation next year.
Question (Julie Pace of AP): Do you understand that the public has changed their view of you this year?
Obama: If I were interested in polling, I wouldn't have run for president. I took this job to deliver for the American public. I knew there would be ups and downs. Health care website problems were a source of great frustration.
Obama: I've said before I've run my last political race. At this point ... my goal is to look back and say we're delivering something. ... We're in this for the long haul.
Obama, on NSA oversight: Are the current structures that we have properly addressing our need to keep ourselves secure and prevent terrorist attacks? ... Are we also making sure we're taking seriously rule of law and our concerns about privacy and civil liberties? ... Now we're evaluating all of the recommendations that have been made. Over the next several weeks, I will assess how we might apply and incorporate recommendations. ... Will make a pretty definitive statement in January.
Obama: This is a debate that needed to be had. ... People are concerned about the prospect, the possibility of abuse (of collected data).
Obama: We've got to provide more confidence to the international community. What has been challenging is that we have a lot of laws and checks and balances ... in making sure that the NSA and other intelligence agencies are not spying on Americans. ... In a virtual world, some of these boundaries don't matter anymore.
Question: When Edward Snowden first started leaking information ... you concluded that "I think we've struck the right balance." Now a panel and a judge are saying no, you haven't. Are there programs that engaged in some abuses (spying on other world leaders)?
Obama: When it comes to the right balance on surveillance, there are a whole bunch of people whose job it is to make sure that the American people are protected.
Obama: What is absolutely clear to me is that given the public debate that's taken place, this is only going to work if the American people have confidence and trust.
Obama: The analysis that I've been doing throughout has always been periodically looking at what we're doing and asking are we doing this in the right way? Are we keeping the American people safe?
Question: Do you have any personal regrets?
Obama: These are tough problems that I have glad to have the privilege of tackling. The statements that I made (6 months ago) are entirely consistent with my statements now.
Obama: There continues not to be evidence that the (215) program was not misused. ... If we have a thread on a potential terrorist threat, that can be followed effectively. In light of disclosures that have taken place, it is clear that whatever benefits this program may have may be outweighed by concerns people have about potential abuse.
Obama: We need this intelligence. We can't unilaterally disarm. ... Programs like 215 could be sufficiently redesigned (removing potential for abuse).
Question: The polls are at a low point right now. You've acknowledged difficulties with health care rollout. For you personally, what do you think has been your biggest mistake (in general)?
Obama: There's no doubt that when it came to health care rollout, even though I was meeting every other week or every 3 weeks with folks and emphasizing how important it was that consumers had a good, easy experience ... to get high-quality, affordable health care, the fact is it didn't happen ... in a way that was at all acceptable. We screwed it up. ... Part of it has to do with IT procurement, or who was in charge of the technology... There are a whole bunch of things we've been taking a look at.
Obama: Bottom line: 7 million people will have health care that works. ... I probably beat myself up more than (reporters do) on any given day. I have to wake up every morning and make sure I do better the next day. When I look at the landscape for next year, I say, "We're poised to do really great things. The economy has been stronger than it has been in a very long time."
Obama: Let's see if we can break through the politics (on immigration reform).
Question: Will you negotiate with House Republicans on the debt ceiling?