Daily Video

March 2, 2009

NewsHour Interview: President Obama

Following the announcement of his plans to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Iraq by 2010, President Barack Obama sat down with Jim Lehrer to talk about his plans for ending the war in Iraq and stabilizing Afghanistan.

President Obama appeared in front of 2,000 marines at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and promised to gradually pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq.

“We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars,” he said Friday.

In this interview, President Obama outlines his plans to end the war in Iraq and focus on the escalating violence in Afghanistan.

“We’ve seen a sense of drift in the mission in Afghanistan, and that’s why I’ve ordered a head-to-toe, soup-to-nuts review of our approach in Afghanistan,” he said.

President Obama also discusses the pressures of his job and running a nation struggling with a recession and two wars.

“I hope that I never start feeling as if these decisions are easy. They should never be easy. I should always lose a little sleep when I’m making these decisions.”


“I don’t make these decisions based on polls or popularity. I make the decisions based on what I think is best. This is consistent with what I said during the campaign. The fact – if anything I think people should be interested in the fact that there’s been a movement in the direction of what I thought was going to be the right plan in the first place.” – President Barack Obama

“I feel a profound obligation to these troops and their families to make sure that the decisions I’m making are the best possible decisions given the best possible information that I have, having canvassed the widest range of viewpoints in order to keep the American people safe.” — President Barack Obama

“I think that we are at an extraordinary moment that is full of peril but full of possibility and I think that’s the time you want to be president. I think there’s a sense that right now we are having to make some very big decisions that will help determine the direction of this country – and in ways large and small the direction of the world – for the next generation. And I won’t lie to you. I wish that they weren’t all having to be made at once. It would nice to be able to stage them on one another.” – President Barack Obama

Warm Up Questions

1. What is the current situation in Iraq right now? Afghanistan?

2. What are some of other important issues facing the nation?

Discussion Questions

1. What did you think of President Obama is this video? What comments stood out to you?

2. What do you think of President Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Iraq in a year?

3. President Obama mentioned that he often loses sleep over the many decisions he has to make. How do you think you would feel if you were in his shoes right now?

Additional Resources

Transcript of this report

Indepth-coverage: Afghanistan

Indepth-coverage: Iraq

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