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Posted: Friday, 20 December 2013 4:05PM

Obama Promises 'Year of Action' on Economy After Mishandling Health Care



The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama acknowledged that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was mishandled in an end-of-year news conference at the White House Friday but, eager to pivot to 2014, suggested that the new year should be a "year of action" on his economic priorities.

"The basic structure of that [health care law] law is working," Obama told reporters at the White House Friday, as he announced that more than 1 million people had signed up for health insurance through federal and state marketplaces.

"I've also got to wake up in the morning and make sure that I do better the next day and we keep moving forward," Obama said. "When I look at the landscape for next year, what I say to myself is were poised to do really good things."

"The economy is stronger than what it's been a long time. Our next challenge is to make sure that everybody benefits from that, not just a few folks," he added.

Friday's news conference caps a difficult year by most standards for a president who was re-elected just 12 months ago by a 4-point margin, and accepted his victory by telling Americans that the election was a mandate to focus on "your jobs, not ours."

Instead, events and political missteps have made 2013 a year of few accomplishments for Obama.

His legislative wish-list that included gun control, immigration overhaul and tax reform are all left undone as he and Congress prepare to leave Washington for the rest of the year. A two-week government shutdown also stymied any legislative progress on the Hill.

"I look at this past year, there are areas where there have obviously been some frustrations where I wish congress had moved more aggressively," Obama said. "Even when congress doesn't move on things they should move on there are whole bunch of things that we're still doing."

The president has also spent a considerable amount of time dealing with the fallout of a massive leak of information about secret surveillance programs by a former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Obama's panel of experts this week released a report critical of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, and on Friday Obama said he would address their recommendations more fully in January.

Obama still defended the NSA's protections of Americans' privacy, despite the report's 46 recommendations which presented several significant changes to oversight of the program, and recommended that the administration end its mass collection of Americans' telephone records altogether.

"I have confidence in the fact that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around," Obama said.

But he recognized that the government may need to provide more "confidence" to Americans and the international community as a result of the leaks.

"Just because we can do something doesn't mean we necessarily should," Obama said. "The values that we have as Americans are the ones that we have to be willing to apply beyond our borders."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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