This is -- CBS news special report I'm Howard aaron's been in Washington. President Obama is about to hold a pre vacation news conference as he in the first family get ready go. Leave to spend the holidays mostly off the record in his boyhood home of Hawaii. This is his 28 solo news conference according to CBS's Mark Knoller and they are many issues for reporters asked the president about. Starting with the latest problems with a obamacare. To the latest court ruling that NSA data collection may be unconstitutional. To what's been described by pundits says the president's toughest year in office. With -- us now live on the phone from Charlottesville Virginia Larry zapatero well known professor of politics at the University of Virginia. Larry some said the president might have been better off getting out of town today where do you think. Well he'd better not make too much news or create too many controversies or they'll cut into his vacation possibly blowing it up. But the president wants to put a gloss on a very difficult year for his presidency. While here he is in danger of taking the attention away from a certain things and maybe I'm going to an issue that's not so to his liking. It's possible that he wants to explain one more time why Obama care. Has the -- Obama -- bowl that has been as difficult as it has been a -- even more changes that were announced just yesterday so. That may be part of that in your right maybe there's something else he has in mind that won't change the conversation. -- -- from obamacare during his vacation. The NSA he's got reforms that the NSA that he's he'll be considering over the over this vacation and I'm sure there will be plenty of questions about that. The NSA is a top target. And obviously he's going to talk about the economy he got a great. Gross domestic. A product number four point 1% much higher than expected at an annual rate. So he wants to tell the good economy hoping that that will help his party in the upcoming mid term elections. Do you think this has been the president's toughest year in office. It's been the -- so far. A presidency often go downhill particularly if they -- both houses of congress for the final two years. And what can he do about that -- and it. Instead -- just getting out of town Agassi and come out here and try to explain things but he's not always successful in doing it. And I'm sorry Hillary erupted at present until almost numerous town. Spent some time parameters. Not surprisingly I am too. But you know what they say it's. The most wonderful press conference -- Right now I am eager to take your questions but first I just wants a few words about our economy. In point thirteen. Our businesses created another two million jobs. Adding up to more than eight million. And just over the past 45 months. This morning we learned that over the summer our economy grew at its strongest pace in nearly two years. The unemployment rate has steadily fallen. To its lowest point in five years. Our tax code is fair and our fiscal situation is -- With deficits that are now less than half of what they world when I took office. For the first time in nearly two decades we now produce more oil here at home that we buy from the rest of the world. And are all of the above strategy. Or new American energy means more energy costs. The Affordable Care Act has helped keep health care costs growing at their slowest rate in fifty years. Combine that means bigger paychecks for middle class families and bigger savings for businesses. Looking to invest and hire here in America. And for all the challenges we've had. And all the challenges that we've been working on diligently. In dealing with the both CA CA and the web site these past couple months. More than half -- Americans have been rolled through -- -- dot gov in the first three weeks of December alone. In California for example state operated its own marketplace. More than 151000 Americans are growing every single day. And in the federal website tens of thousands are rolling every single back. Since October 1 more than one million Americans. Have selective new health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces. So all told millions of Americans. Despite the problems with a web site. Are now poised to be covered by Walter affordable health insurance come -- New Year's Day. Now there's always season there are mothers not fathers and -- the doors of workers. Who have something new assault. The security of knowing that when the unexpected or misfortune strikes departure of former pastor and you add that all up. And what it means as we had a good next year with an economy that's stronger. That it was when we started the year. More Americans are finding work and experience in the private paycheck. Our businesses are positioned for new growth in new jobs. And I. Firmly believed to 114. Can be a breakthrough year for America. But. As I outlined in detail earlier this month we -- know there's a lot more we're gonna have to do to restore opportunity. And broad based growth. For every American and that's gonna require some action. It's a good start earlier this week the first time in years both parties in both houses of congress came together to pass a budget. That unwinds some of the damage and sequester cuts that created headwinds for our economy. It clears the path for businesses and for investments that we need to strictly on middle class like education and scientific research. And -- means of the American people won't be exposed to the threat of another reckless shut down every few months so that's a good thing. It's probably too early to declare. An outbreak. Bipartisanship. But it's also fair to say that we're not down to endless gridlock. There are areas where we can work together. I believe it -- should begin with something the Republicans in congress should have done before. Leave town this week and that's restoring the temporary insurance that helps. Folks make ends meet when they are looking for a job. Because congress didn't act more than one million of their constituents will lose vital economic lifeline. The Christmas time leaving a lot of job seekers without any source of income at all. I think we're better country that. We don't abandon each other when times are tough. Keep in mind unemployment insurance only goes to -- for actively looking for work. A mom who needs help beating her kids when she -- wrestlers or. A dad who needs help pay the rent while working part time still learning the skills he needs for that new job. So. When congress comes back to work their first order of business should be making this right. I -- bipartisan group is working on a three month extension of this insurance. They should pass. A sign it right away. -- repeat I think 2014 needs to be your action. We've got work to do to create more good jobs to help more Americans learn the skills and education they need to do those jobs. And make sure that those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build a little bit of financial security. We still have the task. Finishing. The fix our broken immigration system. We've got to build on the progress we've painstakingly made over these last five years -- respect -- economy and offer. The middle class and all those were looking to join the middle class. A better opportunity. And that's going to be see where our focus all my efforts. In your -- And let me conclude by saying. Just as we're strengthen our position your home. We're also standing up for interests around the world. This year we've demonstrated that with clear eyes principle diplomacy we can pursue new paths to a world that's more secure. The future where -- does not build a nuclear weapon. Future we're serious chemical weapons stockpiles are destroyed. By the end of next year of the war in Afghanistan will be over just as we've ended are war in Iraq and will continue to bring our troops home and has always. We will remain vigilant to protect our homeland and our personal overseas from terrorist attacks. Of course a lot of our men and women in uniform are still overseas and a lot of them are still spending their Christmas. Far away from the family and their friends in some cases still in harm's way. So are close by saying to them. And their families back home we want to thank you. Your country stands united. Supported you. And being grateful for the service of your sacrifice. We will keep you and our thoughts and in our prayers during the season of hope. So before I wish a Merry Christmas to all of its always good night we'll take. Some questions. Juli must be nice. Jewish -- Yeah all of it's like that you stated in your opening statement when you look back this year very little of the domestic agenda that you outlined here. -- your address your -- Health care rollout obviously had these problems and if you please the public art are -- -- Got -- I had. What's your your present. I I gotta tell visually that's not how I think about it I have now been in office. Five years close to five years. Was running for president for two years before that and for those -- you -- me during that time we have had ups and we have that had -- I think this room was probably recorded at least fifteen near death experiences. And what I've been focused on each and every day is are we moving the ball in helping the American people. Families. Have more opportunity to have a lot more security. To feel as if if they work hard they can get -- and if if I would look at this past year. There are areas where there obviously been some frustrations where I wish congress would move more aggressively. They'll not pass a background checks in the wake of news out of something that. I continue to believe it was a mistake. But then I also look at because of the debate that occurred. All the work that's been done at state levels to increase. Gun safety and to make sure that we don't see tragedies like that happen again. There's a lot of focus on legislative. Activity. At the congressional. But even when congress. Move on fixation on the whole bunch of things but we're still don't so. I would always get attention for about. The connect -- program that we announced where we're going to be. Initiated wireless. Capacity and every classroom in America. Will make a huge difference for kids all across this country and for teachers. A manufacturing. That we set up. In Youngstown something that I talked about during the state of the union is gonna create innovation. And connect universities manufacturer's. Job training. To help create a Renaissance build on the Renaissance sourcing and manufacturing. When it comes to energy this year is going to be. The first year in a very long time we're -- we're producing more. -- And natural gas. Here in this country. There were important that's a big deal so so. I understand the -- you're getting -- which is that. A lot of our legislative initiatives in congress. Have not move forward as rapidly as I'd like. I completely understand that. Which means that I'm gonna -- -- And if you look at for example immigration reform probably the biggest. Things that I don't want to get done this year. We saw progress if passed the senate with a strong bipartisan -- There are indications in the house that even though it did not get completed this year that. There is. Commitment on the far the speaker to try to move forward. Legislation early next year and the fact that it didn't hit. The timeline and I'd prefer. Is obviously. Frustrating but it's not something that I am debris -- about. -- they seem to have lost confidence -- Trust you that your credibility has to get a hit off the hook here love the big. Understand that it. -- -- -- I guess what I'm saying is if you're measuring -- but hey it's my polls have gone up and down all -- Through the course of my career. I mean if I was Anderson in polling I would run for president I was born at 70% was of 1000 US senate. I took this job to deliver for the American people and I knew and will continue to note that there are going to be ups and downs out. You're right they helped her. Website problems. Were. A source of great frustration I think from last press conference. Adequately. Discussed my frustrations on those on the other hand since that time I now have. Couple million people maybe more. We're gonna have health care on January 1. And. That is a big deal. That's why Iran for this office. And as long as I've got an opportunity every single day to make sure that. In ways large and small. And creating greater opportunity for people more kids -- able to go to school get education they need. More families are able to stabilize their finances. You know the housing market is continuing to improve. People feel like the wages maybe or her pension up a little bit. If those things are happening. I'll take it. And you know I've said before from my last political race. So at this point my goal every single day just to make sure that. I look -- -- Were delivered something not everything. Is. This is long haul. What multiple. Factors. One of the most significant events this belief he -- -- As you review how -- in the National Security Agency. A federal judge says that for example. The government -- -- cited -- instance in which analysis of the and it -- -- competitive. Are you able to identify specific example -- it's so. Are you convinced that the collection that it is useful financial securities continue after this. Didn't -- talk more broadly and I don't talk specifically about over who work. As you know. The independent panel that I put together came back we have series of recommendations 46 and total. I have an extensive meeting with -- them down in the situation room. To review all the recommendations that they've made I want to thank them publicly. Because I think they did an excellent job and took my church very seriously which is I told them. I want you to look from top to bottom at what we're doing. And evaluate. Whether or not. The current structure is so we have the current programs that we have are. Properly. Addressing both. Continued need to keep ourselves secure and to prevent terrorist attacks. Or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or other. Threats to the homeland. And or we also making sure that were taken seriously. Rule of law and our concerns about privacy. And civil liberties so what we're doing now is evaluating. All the recommendations that have been made. Over the next several weeks. I'm gonna assessed. Based on conversations not just live. The intelligence community about others in government and outside of government how we might. Apply and incorporate. Their recommendations. And I'm -- pretty definitive statement about all of us in January where I'll be able to say. You're. Or the recommendations that we think makes sense -- ones that we think are promising but still need to be refined further. Here's how it relates to the work we're doing not just him. Not just internally but also. In partnership with the other countries. And so I'm I'm taking this very seriously because I think as I've said before this debate is needed to -- One specific program. -- 215 program is. The metadata the -- collection. Phone numbers and exchanges for the second place. That has probably gotten the most attention at least -- respect to domestic audiences. And what I've served in the past. Continues to be the case which is that. The NSA. In executing this program. Believe based on experiences from 9/11. That it was important for us to be able to track. If there was a phone number of of a known terrorist outside the United States falling into the United States. Where that call might have -- And that having that data in one place. And retain for a certain period of time allow them. To be confident. In pursuing various investigations have been terrorist threats. And I think it's important to note that in all the reviews of this program that have been done. In fact there have not been actual instances where. It's been alleged that the NSA in some ways. Acted. Inappropriately. And the use of this data. But what is also clear is from the public debate. People are concerned about the prospect the possibility of abuse and I think that's what the judgment this report suggested. Good. And although his opinion obviously differs from. Rulings. On the -- -- We're taking those into account. The question were gonna have to ask is can we accomplish the same goals. That this program is intended to accomplish. In ways that give the public more confidence. That in fact -- -- news. Doing what it's supposed to be doing I have confidence and the fact that the NSA is not engaging in domestic surveillance or snooping around but I also recognize that. -- technologies change and people from start running algorithms and programs that. Map out. All. Information we're downloading them on a daily basis and or telephones and our computers. That we may have to refine this further to give people more confidence -- and I'm going to be working very hard on doing that and we got to provide more confidence the international. Community. In some ways what has been more challenges is the fact that we do have it a lot of laws and checks and balances and safeguards and audits when it comes to making sure that the NSA. And other intelligence agencies are not spying on Americans. We've had less. Legal constraint in terms of what we're doing internationally. But I think part of what's been interesting about this whole exercise is recognizing that in a virtual world. Some of these founders don't matter. And just because we can do something doesn't mean we necessarily shouldn't that values that we got as Americans. Are ones that we have to. Be willing to apply. Beyond our borders I think perhaps more systematically than we've done in the past. In terms. Ed Henry. Mr. President I wanna follow on that because stuff. They're Christians -- mr. when Edward Stone first started we can information you make a statement on June 7 -- You claim to the American people who you -- or you performed. Many of these surveillance programs in the office. What my team evaluated them scrub them but hopefully we actually spent some of the oversight he did -- and this you also say we may have to rebalance observations. Would you conclude with quote you can complain about big brother and how this potential program Obama when he actually look at the details. Then I think we struck the right balance. I was only six months ago. Now it's judges saying no year old Allison you know you -- you're saying no we haven't really struck the right bounce perhaps the changes have to -- my question is. Were you wrong dead -- -- not fully ready and not just on these programs but on other programs outside the -- just talked about. Where we were potentially listening in on the German leaders of Brazilian leaders and others that suggests there were pieces one and number two. If you didn't you work we've written on these programs is another example what you use of this to -- was getting out with this question of credibility with the American people. It just like on health care. You like your plan you can keep on surveillance you look at where people had six months ago and said we've got the right balance in six months later saying -- -- -- sort of I think it's important to note that. When it comes to the right balance on surveillance. These are serious judgment calls or making every single day because we've got a whole bunch of folks whose job it is to make sure that the American people are protected. And that's a hard job. Because there's something slips then the question that's coming from you. The next day at a press conference is Mr. President why did you catch that white wife -- children people out that's just what is -- way that we -- found out. That in fact this terrorist attack took place at -- hope -- right area is so the point is not that my assessment of the 215 program. Has changed in terms of technically how it works. What is absolutely clear to me is that. Given the public debate that's taken place in the sport -- that taking place over the last several months. That. This is only gonna work if the American people have confidence and trust. Now part of the challenges is that because of the manner in which these disclosures took place in drips and drabs oftentimes shaded in a particular. Way and because some of the constraints that we've had turned declassify information and getting it out there. That. That trust and how many safeguards exist and how these programs are run. Has been diminished. So what's going to be important is to build that back up. And I take that into account in -- how we structure of these programs so let me just be very specific problems -- drifting program. It is possible. For example that some of the same information. The intelligence community feels as required to keep people safe. Can be obtained by having. The private. Phone companies keep these records longer and to create some mechanism where they can be accessed. In. Okay. An effective fashion. That might cost more. There might need to be different checks. On how those requests are made there may be -- technological. Solutions will have to be found to do that. And the question we're asking ourselves an hour is. Does that make sense not only because. The fact that. There are concerns about potential abuse down the road where is the meta data that's being kept by a government rather than. Companies. But also does make sense to do because people right now. Our concern that maybe their phone calls are being listened to even if they're not. And we've got to factor that in so I my point is is that the environment. Has changed in ways that. I think require us to take that into account. But. The analysis that I've been doing throughout has always been. Periodically looking at what we're doing and asking ourselves are we doing this in the right way. Are we making sure that we're keeping the American people safe number one we also being true to -- civil liberties and our privacy and our values. I understand it's tough job and got visits military attack everyone of us can be second guessing you and that's extremely difficult do you -- a lot of focus that you say I don't want to get off you. You went on. So my question is do you have any personal -- you're not addressing the fact the public Steve. You've made to reassure the public -- Director of National Intelligence James -- months ago went up -- a question from. The crap out of public about what Anderson this was going on and he denies it doesn't that undermine the public trust and. You're inflating your personal mailing and and mr. Crocker and everybody's gonna -- respectful of what I'm saying is this that. Yes these are tough problems that I am glad. To have the privilege -- Your initial question was. Whether the statements that I made six months ago or ones that I don't stand by and what I'm saying is is that. The statements I made -- are entirely consistent with the statements that I make now which is bad. We believed that we had scrub these programs and struck an appropriate balance. And there had not been evidence. And their continues not to be evidence that these particular program had been abused. -- how -- was used. And that it was a useful tool. Working with the other tools of the intelligence. Community does. To ensure that if we have a thread on a potential terrorist threat that that can be for the fact of what I've also said though is that in light of the disclosures. That have taken place. It is clear that. Whatever benefits. The configuration of this particular program may have. -- -- By. The concerns that people have on this potential abuse and if that's the case there may be another way of -- the -- So. We just keep on going at this stuff. And saying can we do this better. Can we do this more effectively I think that the panel's recommendations. Our consistent -- that so few if you had a chance to read the overall recommendations what they. We're very clear about is we need this intelligence. We can't unilaterally disarm. There are ways we can do it potentially that. His people greater assurance that their checks and balances that there's sufficient oversight sufficient transparency. Programs like 215 could be redesigned. In ways that give you the same information when you need it without creating these potentials for years. And that's exactly what we should be doing is evaluate all of these things very clear specific way. And moving forward on on changes and that's what I intend to do your. No regrets just went into the John -- It's very tough -- -- -- call it we're here your presence you wouldn't believe it -- beat them. Holes. -- -- and out there that'll hopefully right now so. What would ask you acknowledge the difficulties with the health care roll out. But when you look back into the decisions the and what you did what you didn't you would review portion. What do you think is that your biggest. -- respective -- Pacific where it was just awful thing. That is. Well. There's no doubt. It. That might come when it came to the help fuel out. Even though I was meeting. Every other week. Every three weeks. With folks and emphasizing how important was that consumers had a good experience and easy experience. In getting the information they need and knowing what the choices and options were for them to be able to get high quality affordable health care. The factors that didn't happen in the first month. For six weeks in a way that was. At all acceptable. And since I'm in charge -- -- that we. Screwed up. Part of as I've said before had to do with how. I T procurement generally is done and almost pre -- this year. Part of it obviously has to do with the fact that. There were not clear enough lines of authority in terms of who was in charge of the technology and crack in the wind on a whole bunch of contractors so their whole bunch of things that. We've been taking a look at and I'm going to be making appropriate adjustments. Once we get through this year and we've got through the initial surge of people -- been signing up. But. You know having said all. Bottom line also is is -- we've got. Several million people or their health care that works. And it's not that I don't. Engage in a lot of self reflection here I promise a heart beat myself -- You know it worsened. You're Ed Henry does. On any given day but. I've also got to wake up and -- make sure that. I do better the next day and that we keep moving forward. And when I look at the landscape. For next year what I say to myself -- we're poised. To do really good things. The economy is stronger. Than it has been in a very long time. Our next challenge that is to make sure that everybody benefits from that not just. A few folks and they're still too many people who haven't seen a race. And are still feeling financially insecure. We can get immigration reform that we've got a concept that has bipartisan support. Let's see if we can breakthrough politics on this. You know I think that hopefully folks have learned their lesson in terms of brinksmanship. Coming out of period. Coming out of government shutdown -- there been times where I thought about were there other ways that I could have. Prevented. That those 34 weeks. -- the economy and hurt individual families who were. Not get the picture during that time. Absolutely but I also think in some ways given the pattern that we've been going through with the house Republicans for awhile we might have needed. Just. A little bit of a bracing. Sort of recognition that this is not what the American people -- acceptable they want. Let's just try to solve problems and be practical even if we can't get everything done. So. You know the end of the year is always a good time to reflect and see what can you do better next year. That's how. I intend to approach it I'm sure that I will have even better ideas after. A couple days of sleep and some. We don't. Off all the debts or Treasury Secretary is estimated -- US government responsibility. Spills coffee category -- and march also Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has sent her. Are going to decide what music. -- you negotiate with house Republicans on the -- Over -- you know be answered this question. No word -- got to negotiate for congress to pay bills that it has accrued. And here's the good news I want our emphasized the positive. As we enter into this holiday season. I think congressman Ryan and some of them -- just a good job in trying to narrow the differences. And actually -- budget that I -- It's not everything that I would like obviously. It buys back part of peace across the board cuts the so also Questar. But not all. So we're still under funding the search was still underfunding education. For so underfunded no. Transportation. Other initiatives that would create jobs right. But you know there was an honest conversation. Today. Operated in good faith and given how far far. The parties have been on fiscal issues that they should take pride in what they did and I actually called them today. Struck the deal him and knives that congratulations and I hope that creates a good pattern. For next year where we work on at least the things we agree to even if we agree to disagree. On some of the other big ticket items. I think immigration potentially false in that category where let's. Here's here's an area where we've got bipartisan agreement. They're a few differences here and there but the truth of the matter is is that the senate bill has. The main. Components of comprehensive immigration reform that would boost our economy. -- Us an opportunity to attract more investment and high skilled workers we're doing. Great things in places like Silicon Valley and around the country so what's going to give about. Now. I can't imagine that having seen this. Possible daylight breaking -- cooperation in congress. That. Folks are thinking actually about plunging us back into. The kinds of brinksmanship and governance by crisis. That is done so much harm over the last couple years. To repeat the debt ceiling. Is raised simply to pay bills that we have already approved. It is not something. Coach is. I negotiating tool it's not leverage. The responsibility of congress as part of doing their job. I expect them to do their job although I'm happy to talk about any of the issues that. They actually wanna get them so it congressman -- interest and tax reform. What's go I've got some proposals. He's in for student. Any issue out there. I'm going to have a constructive conversation of the sort that we just -- in resolving the budget issues but. I've I've got to -- folks are crazy enough to start that -- all over. It was on network personal. What is your. My New Year's resolution is to be nicer to the white house press corps. Absolutely. -- -- -- It's quite a lead in Mr. President thank you. Recollect -- who is the head of the NSA task force and Edward Stone told sixty minutes that he was quote worth having a conversation about granting Edwards Snowden amnesty. To what degree sir were you pleased that he floated as trial balloon and under what circumstances would you consider. Either plea agreement or amnesty for a wood -- and what do you say to Americans. Sir who after possibly being. Alerted to judge Leon decision earlier this week reading the panel recommendations. Believe it -- -- and set in motion something that is. Proper and just in this country about the scope of surveillance and should not be considered by this government. A criminal. I've got to be careful here measure because. Mr. stone is under indictment he's been charged we're. With crimes and that's the province of the attorney general and ultimately. The judge and -- so. I can't weigh in specifically on this case at this point all -- all make a try to see if I can get it the spirit of the question even if I can. Talk about the specifics. I said before and I I believe that this is an important conversation that we needed to have. I've also said before that. The way in which these disclosures. Happen. They've been. Have been -- The United States. And damaging to our intelligence capabilities. And I think that there was a way for us to have this conversation without that there. Ought to be just one specific example. That that the fact of the matter is that the United States for all our warts. Is. A country that abides by rule of law that. Cares deeply about privacy. That cares about civil liberties that cares about our constitution. And as a consequence these courses we've got countries who. Actually. Do the things that mr. Snowden says he's worried about very explicitly. Engaging in surveillance of their own citizens. Targeting. Political dissidents. Targeting and suppressing the press. Who somehow. Are able to sit on the sidelines and act as if it's the United States. Has problems when it comes to surveillance and intelligence operations. And that's a pretty distorted view of what's going on up so. So I think that. As important and as necessary as this debate has been. It is also important to keep in mind that this has done unnecessary damage. Two. US intelligence capabilities and US diplomacy. But I will leave it up to the courts. And the attorney general. To weigh in publicly on the specifics of mr. stone's case would serve like -- follow up. Mr. Leggett is setting this in motion these reason this is a topic of conversation user would. There's uncertainty consultant if there was ever going to be a conversation I think amnesty or a plea bargain either Edwards note I think that's true raider -- I guess where I'm sorry here's. There's little doubt forever that you would never consider what I'm saying is is that there's a difference between mr. -- -- something and the president of the United States and communities. That's exactly right. Chalked up to. And partners and you talk about the issues that -- here in the west. But there have been other issues with information about people keeping their policies extended deadlines postponement. Here in new -- And HHS announced. -- expect Americans to have confidence. And certainty and that's all you can. This one here this -- last night. Could argue you might as well Philly and and. Well it's true because what we're talking about a very very specific population. That received cancellation notices from insurance companies. The majority of them are either. Keeping their old plan because the grandfather clause has been extended for. Order finding. A better deal in the marketplace. -- better insurance or cheaper cost. But there may still be a subset. It's significantly smaller subset of some of the numbers that have been advertise. That. Or. Still looking for options are still concerned about. What they're going to be doing next year. And we just want to make sure that the hardship provision that was party existing in the law. Would also potentially applied as somebody who had problems during this transition period. So that's the specifics of this latest change your making the broader point that. That I think is is fair and that is that. In a big. Project like this. That what we are constantly doing is looking is this working the way expose true and if there are adjustments that can be made to smooth -- the transition. We should make them. But they don't go to record the law. First of all before the law is is that for 85% of the population. All they've been getting news. Free preventive care. Better consumer protections. The ability to keep their kids. On their insurance plan to over 46. Thousand dollar 500 dollar discounts on prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare. So 85% of the population. Whether they -- not over the last three years. They have benefited from a whole set the provisions of the law and by the way if it were read be repealed you would be taking away. All of those benefits. From. For folks who RT. Are joined them. You have this -- Portion of the population 15%. -- don't have health insurance or buy it on the individual market. And that's still. Millions of people. And what we're doing is creating a marketplace where they can buy insurance and we can provide them some tax credits to help them before. The basic structure of that law is working despite all the problems. Despite the web site problems despite the messaging problems despite all that. It's work. And again you don't take my word for. We've got a couple million people were gonna have health insurance. Just in the first three months despite the fact they're right -- first month and a half was lost. Because. -- with a web site and about as bad a bunch of publicity. As you could imagine. And yet you still got two million people who signed up. Or or or more. And so what that means then is that. The demand is there and as I said before the product is good. Now. In. Putting something like this together. They're going to be all kinds of problems that crop up some of which may have been an unanticipated what we've been trying to do is just respond to them in a common sense. Way. And we're gonna continue to try to do that. But that doesn't negate the fact that. You know a year from now or two years from now when we look back we're going to be able to say -- even more people have health insurance didn't have before. And that's not a bad thing that's a good thing that is part of the reason why. I pushed so hard to get this -- done in the first place and you know I've said before. This is a messy process I think sometimes like certain people say. Well ABA yes -- messy and be. You know it isn't is an effective -- -- some indication that. They're they're more fundamental problems with the law and I guess what I'd say to that -- is. When you try to do something. This big affecting this many people. It's going to be hard and every instance whether it's Social Security Medicare. Prescription. Drug plan under President Bush. It's there hasn't been an instance where you tried to. Really have an impact on the American people's lives and well being particularly in the culture where. You don't end up having. Some of these challenges. The question is going to be. Ultimately. Do we make good decisions. Trying to help as many as people as possible in -- -- away as possible. And I think that's what we're. It was 72 hours ago this change. -- people -- -- the jump frankly they jump up type policy the war. We're trying to get keep. Hopefully. We'll keep in mind. -- first of all that. The majority of folks are gonna have different -- this is essentially. A additional. In case. Folks my -- looked through the cracks. We don't have precision on those numbers but we expect it's going to be a relatively small number because these are folks who want insurance and the vast majority of them have good options and in this state like North Carolina for example the overwhelming majority of them have just kept their own plants. So the ones they had previously. But it. We thought and continue to think that it makes sense that as we are transitioning to a system in which insurance standards are higher. People don't have unpleasant surprises because they thought that insurance until they hit the limit and next thing you know they stole 100200. To 300 miles per hospital this. That as we transition to. Higher standards better insurance that we also address. Folks who. Get caught in that transition and there are unintended consequences. And I'll be out that was the original terms of her grandfather clause that was in the law. Obviously the problem was it didn't catch enough people. And we learned from that and we're trying not to repeat those respects yeah. That's what. Six dramatic. What was the message you were trying to send. We know you're not -- Sochi games but also if you change the delegation to represent its feet and over boy I'm determined Olympics in the past and I suspect groups. You know. He'll be attending the Olympics. Particularly at a time when. We've got all the other stuff people don't talk about is going to be tough although I don't want to do. Probably go to a lot of Olympic Games post presence. There -- delegation speaks for itself you got outstanding Americans outstanding athletes. People who. Will represent us extraordinarily well. And. -- The fact that. We've got folks like. Billie Jean King here Brian Boitano who who. Themselves have been world class athletes that are but he acknowledges. For their excellence but also for the character. Who also happen to be members LG BT community. It should take that. We're. For what it's worth that we're comes from the Olympics -- performance. We don't make distinctions on the basis of sexual orientation. We judge people on. How they perform. Both. On the court. -- office -- on the field not the and that's. Of value that. And here's the heart of not just America but American sports. You know it just rolled on these last few real quickly. Harsh bureau last little White House he deserves a question -- -- a. Senator Max Baucus was widely seen as the best hope for a large scale fuel to overhaul the tax code what does your decisions. After China say about your hopes for me. It says that Max Baucus is going to be an outstanding investors China and I'd like her it's worth confirmation. And my expectation and hope is is that if well so Democrats or if Democrats and Republicans. In the house the center's serious about. Tax reform and assigned him to -- on one guy it's gonna depend on all of us working together and my. Office is ready willing and eager. To engage both parties and every conversation about how can simplify the tax code. Make it fair make it work to create more jobs and do right by middle class Americans. -- -- Hikes in Hawaii and I think politically you mock up. -- Here I think -- you what your reaction was to. The nonpartisan truth telling through. I'll put it back when it says the lives in New York State that you like your health care. Escalated. Help here. We've seen him pets here fallout from it seems to be making Democrats to win senate. A little rambunctious and independent view. Which is at its most fairly easy to -- to -- sanctions it looks like senate majority leader Harry Reid has expedited. Consideration. Iran sanctions bill for January and even hits your industry you have been trying to get them. To lay -- sanctions on your. -- -- Destroyed in a bunch of -- longer look what's what should we component our question that I I. They how much I separate -- the Iran question. From to -- her question. Off all on the health care question -- they have answered several times this is new iteration of it but bottom line is. That. You know we are going to continue to work every single day to make sure that. Implementation health care law and the web site and all elements of it including the grandfather clause. What better. Every single day. And as I certain in previous. Press conferences. There were gonna make mistakes. And or have problems but my intentions. Have been clear throughout which is I was wanna help as many people as possible field. Secure. And make sure that they don't go broke when they get -- And will just keep bundle. On Iraq. There is the possibility. Of -- Resolution. To. A problem that has. Been a challenge for American national security for. Over a decade now. And that is getting Iran. To -- verifiable fashion. Not. Pursue a nuclear war. Already even with the interim deal that we struck in Geneva we have the first holes. And in some cases some rollback. Of Iran's nuclear capabilities. The first time we've seen that in. Almost a decade. And we now have a structure in which. We can have a very serious conversation to see is it possible for Iran. To get right with the international community. In a verifiable fashion. Two. Give us all confidence that. Any peaceful nuclear program that they have is not. Gonna be weaponized in a way that threatens us or allies in the region including Israel. And as I've said before and I will repeat it is very important for us to test. Whether that's possible. Not because it's guarantees. But because. The alternative. Is possibly. A -- and engage in some sort of conflict. To resolve the problem with all kinds of unintended consequences. I've been very clear from the start. I mean what I say. It is my goal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but I sure would rather do it diplomatically. I'm keeping all options on the table but if I can do it diplomatically. That's how we should do and I would think that would be the preference. Everybody up on Capitol Hill is that true is the purpose of the American people. And we lose nothing. During this negotiation period precisely because. There are verification provisions in place. We will have more insight into Iran's nuclear program. Over the next six months we have previously. You'll know if there are violating the terms of the agreement. They're not allowed to accelerator. Their stockpile. Enriched uranium in fact they have to. Reduce their stockpile of highly enriched uranium. Ironically if we did not have this. Six month period in which were testing whether we can get a comprehensive solution to this problem. They'd be advancing. Even further on their nuclear program. And in light of all that what I said to members of congress Democrats and Republicans as there is no need for new sanctions legislation. Not yet. -- Iran comes back and says. We can't give you assurances that we're not weaponized. If they're not want to address. Some of their. Capabilities. That we know could end up resulting in been having breakout capacity. It's going to be hard for us to. Turn the dial back. Strengthen sanctions even -- all work -- members of congress to put even more pressure. On Iran. But there's no reason to do right now. And so. I'm not surprised that. There's been some talk from some members of congress about new sanctions ethnic group the politics. Trying to look tough on Iran. Are often good. -- Iran and for office. Or you're an office. But. As president of United States right now who's been. Responsible over the last four years with the help of congress in putting together a comprehensive sanctions regime. That was specifically designed to put pressure on them and bring them to the table and negotiate. What I'm saying to them. What upsets of the international community and what I've said to. The American people us. Let's test. Now's the time to try to see if we can get this thing done. And and I've heard some logic that says well this present world. We're supportive of the negotiations but we think it's really useful. To have this club -- and overruns federal personal we still have existing sanctions are in place. Bad. I was -- and Iran. Losing billions of dollars every month in lost oil sales. We already have banking and financial sanctions that are still being applied even as the negotiations are taking place is not as if we're letting up on that. Driver arguments well but you know this way. We can be assured him he arrives we'll know that if negotiations fail. Even knew what harsher sanctions will be put in place let's I don't think Iranians. Have any doubt that congress would be more than happy to pass more sanctions legislation. We can do that that. In -- day. On a dime. But. If we're serious about negotiations. We've got to create an atmosphere in which. Iran is willing to move in ways that are uncomfortable for them and contrary to. There ideology and rhetoric and there are -- Thanks and there are suspicions of us and we do we don't help get them to a position where we can actually resolve this. By. Engaging in. This kind of this kind of action. OK everybody I think. I'm gonna take one more question Colleen McCain Nelson and that is that. Your longtime advisors and -- away from. You folks are coming in -- there thinking I'm new rules enough west wing as you appreciate your team that fit how does that change the dynamic here has. Impact what you think you can accomplish going. You know I just have -- with these browsers -- Lieberman and that's tough -- It is there's a map right now -- You know I I love that guy and and and that will be a significant loss although he'll still be in -- Hopefully I'll be able to consult with him on an ongoing basis I think the fact that John -- is coming it'll be terrific. He may deny it but I've been trying to get him in here for quite some time he ran my transition office I asked him when he was running the transition office -- -- Would be willing to join us some of that time I think you still feel. That he he want to develop captain. Other organizations but. Just a great strategist. The as as good as anybody. Domestic policy. And I think you'll be huge boost to us and give us. More than what to -- -- more issues. I suspect that we may have additional announcements. In the new year. Now there's there's a natural turn over the takes place. People get tired people get worn out. Sometimes you need -- like us. But you know what I can tell you is that good that he might have. Now. Is tireless and shares my values and believes. The thing that I think ever paid -- price for five times in this press conference which is. We get this incredible privilege for a pretty short period of time to do as much as we can. For as many people as we can to help them live better lives. And that's what drives and that's the sacrifice they make being away from families and soccer games and birthday isn't. Some more and out work him over Christmas on issues like the the fact that they make those kinds of sacrifices. I'm always grateful for and -- -- say to me after making those sacrifices for 345. Years. You know I -- a break. And that I completely understand. Have a great all everybody -- Well I'm leaving the White House. Briefing room he took questions from reporters there for about an hour no real headlines though. He started with a statement calling attention to the improving economy and to the growing number of Americans signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The president said the number has passed one million. Also the president said the bipartisan budget deal proves the government is not condemned. To continue was gridlock and he appealed again to congress to extend long term unemployment benefits when it returns next year. He called 2014. A zero of action. The first question to him was has this been the worst year of your presidency and he said that's not how I think about it. He said he does not focus on the press is reporting. Of what he called. Near death experiences. He admitted the health care problems in answer to a question have been a source of great frustration for him. But insisted he's happy about the number of people who were signing up now that the website has been fixed. There we admitted about the website quote we screwed it up. On the NS say the president said he's taking his commission's recommendations on reforms very seriously. But he said he needs to decide if the NSA can accomplish the same goals. Of keeping the country safe if it is restricted in the way it collects data he says there's no evidence that the programs have been abused and finally. The president said he's looking forward to some days of sleep. And -- with a -- from the University of Virginia political professor Larry zapatero. Larry there was some tough questions out of the president of. It was a wide ranging news conference the president as you noted didn't really make much news piece says what he was expected to say he's out of the economy. Which is his strong card because Americans don't believe the economy is as good as -- actually this is. He defended. The Affordable Care Act which it's unpopular. I don't think -- Convinced any of the skeptics -- That's probably what will be most remembered for the press conference is that he he made a New Year's resolution to treat the white house press -- better and then broke it later in the news conference. We'll see -- 2014 turns and and and better for the white house press. Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia political science professor thank you very much this has been -- CBS news special report. I'm Howard -- -- and Washington.