In a year-end news conference at the White House, President Obama said he was optimistic about what he might be able to achieve in 2016, his last full year in office, as he vowed not to let his lame duck status block action on a variety of legislative goals.
“Since taking this office, I’ve never been more optimistic about a year ahead than I am right now,” the President told reporters in the White House Briefing Room.
“And in 2016, I’m going to leave it out all on the field,” Mr. Obama added.
One issue where the President said he will keep trying is on his goal of shutting down the terrorist prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
“I’m presenting a plan to Congress about how we can close Guantanamo. I’m not going to automatically assume that Congress says no,” the President said.
But it seems highly unlikely that Republicans would give in on that issue – especially in an election year.
On terrorism, Mr. Obama was asked about his administration’s work to stop people who have terrorist leanings from entering the U.S., and the general plan to stop the Islamic State.
As for security matters at home, the President acknowledged that law enforcement efforts to stop terrorists can’t always work.
“It’s not that different from us trying to detect the next mass shooter,” the President said. “You don’t always see it.”
The President also vowed to keep up the pressure on the Islamic State, though he gave no indications about any impending changes in U.S. military efforts against that group.
“We’re going to defeat ISIS,” Mr. Obama said.
As for his legislative goals in 2016, the President told reporters he wants action on a major trade deal negotiated with a group of Pacific nations, along with criminal justice reform.