Obama Answers Questions On Petraeus Investigation, Economy


UPDATED: Wednesday November 14, 2012 5:26 PM

President Barack Obama said he has no evidence that the scandal that ended former Gen. David Petraeus' career had a negative impact on national security.
   
In his first comments on the scandal, Obama told a White House news conference that from what he's seen, no classified information was disclosed that would harm national security.
   
The president spoke five days after Petraeus resigned as head of the Central Intelligence Agency after disclosing he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
   
Obama said he's withholding judgment on the timing of the revelations that Petraeus was under investigation.
   
Officials have said that Obama was not told about the investigation until after the election. He said he has "a lot of confidence generally" in the FBI, which is conducting the inquiry.
   
The president also addressed the economy during the news conference.

Obama said the economy cannot afford a tax increase on all Americans. He's calling on congressional Republicans to support an extension of existing tax rates for households earning $250,000 or less.
   
Obama said he is confident that he and Congress can reach an agreement that avoids a so-called "fiscal cliff" on Jan. 1, when all tax rates would revert to Clinton-era levels and a series of deep spending cuts kick in.
   
He said he will not agree to any budget deal that extends current tax rates for the wealthiest taxpayers, saying their rates should rise to help raise revenue. He said his stand was validated by voters in the election.
   
Congressional Republicans have said they would be willing to include new tax revenue in a deficit reduction deal. But they have been adamant that the tax rates themselves must not increase.
   
Obama was asked about other national issues as well.

He defended U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in the aftermath of the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya and calling Republican criticism of her outrageous.

Obama also said there is still time for the United States and Iran to resolve an impasse over Iran's nuclear program.

Obama said America must "seize the moment" to seek an overhaul of the immigration system and he expects that work to start soon after his inauguration for a second term.

Finally, Obama said he has not scheduled a meeting with Republican Mitt Romney, but wants to talk with him before the end of the year.

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