At Press Conference, Obama Hints At Changing Phone Records Collection
President Barack Obama suggests he may be ready to rein in some of the bulk collection of Americans' phone records to allay the public's privacy concerns.
At an end-of-year news conference Friday, Obama said he has not yet made any decisions about the National Security Agency's collection programs. But he offers the first indication that he may be willing to change some parts of the controversial program that collects and stores Americans' phone records. He says there may be "another way of skinning the cat."
One reform could be to stop the practice of government storing phone records for five years and shift that storage to phone companies.
Obama offered a broad defense of the surveillance programs that have been revealed in documents leaked by a former NSA systems analyst.
Obama also said he's not brooding about 2013, despite a series of setbacks.
The president said that as long as the economy is improving and he's helping families, he's OK.
Obama's approval rating has been at record lows recently. But he joked that in the seven years since he launched his presidential campaign, the media has, quote, "recorded 15 near-death experiences."
He acknowledged frustration that he didn't get the legislative reforms he wanted, specifically mentioning gun control and immigration. And he said his health care law hasn't worked the way it should have.
But he said he's going to keep working on his agenda and predicted 2014 would be "a breakthrough year for America."