President Obama on Benghazi, fiscal cliff, Petraeus scandal - KMSP-TV

3 important things President Obama said in first post-election press conference

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WASHINGTON (FOX NEWS) -

President Obama held his first full press conference in more than eight months Wednesday.

The president discussed the U.S. economy and fast-approaching fiscal cliff, a congressional investigation into what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya in September, and the current scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus.

...ON BENGHAZI

President Obama told critics of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, specifically Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, that they should "go after me" -- not her -- if they have issues with the administration's handling of the attacks.

"Let me say specifically about Susan Rice -- she has done exemplary work. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. And I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? To besmirch her reputation is outrageous."

...ON THE FISCAL CLIFF

President Obama gives two options on the pathways available for avoiding the fiscal cliff, but says he's open to compromise.

The president is calling for both parties to come together in a balanced and responsible way to reach an agreement for the looming $700 billion in spending cuts and expiring Bush-era tax cuts.

"We face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs, taxes, and deficits by the end of the year. Both parties voted to set this deadline and I believe that both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way. Yesterday, I had a chance to meet with labor and civic leaders for their input. Today, I'm meeting with CEO's of some of America's largest companies and I'll meet with both parties of Congress before the week is out because there's only one way to solve these challenges and that is together."

"When it comes to taxes, there are two pathways available. Option one, if Congress fails to act by the end of this year, everybody's taxes will automatically go up, including the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year and the 97 percent of small businesses who earn less than $250,000 a year. That doesn't make sense. Our economy can't afford that right now. Certainly, no middle class family can afford that right now and nobody in either party says they want that to happen. The other option is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. And by the way, that means every American, including the wealthiest Americans get a tax cut."

The fiscal cliff deadline comes in seven weeks.

...ON PETRAEUS AND NATIONAL SECURITY

President Obama says there's no evidence of national security harm in the wake of the sex scandal involving former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell.

"I have no evidence, at this point, from what I've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. Obviously, there is an ongoing investigation. I don't want to comment on the specifics of the investigation. The FBI has its own protocol in terms of how they should proceed."

"General Petraeus had an extraordinary career. He served this country with great distinction - in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and as head of the CIA. By his own assessment he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the Director of the CIA with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with, with his family and with his wife. And it's on that basis that he tendered his resignation and it's on that basis that I accepted it."

Petraeus submitted a resignation letter on Friday.

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