FW: In-town pool report #3

From: Chris Johnson [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2015 11:28 AM
To: Velz, Peter
Subject: In-town pool report #3

Obama remarks at White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism

Obama, wearing, a dark suit and dark tie, began his remarks at 10:32 and ended in the Loy Henderson Conference Room and ended at 10:54.

In his remarks, Obama laid out a multi-pronged vision to confront violent extremism that consisted of being unwavering in fight against terrorism, building democracy, breaking cycles of sectarian conflict and changing the perception of religious minorities and Muslims.

"We are here today because are united against the scourge of violent extremism and terrorism," Obama said.

Enumerating the activity of terrorists, Obama gave special emphasis to what he called the "unspeakable cruelty" of ISIS, which he said consisted of violence against children and women, beheading of hostages and threatening religious minorities.

Talking about being unwavering in the fight against terrorism, Obama noted the coalition against ISIS and efforts by the United States in Afghanistan and Somalia. Obama said leaders later in the conference would share information to make it harder for members of ISIS to travel between Iraq and Syria.

On ending sectarian conflict, which he called a "magnet" for violent extremism, Obama took note of Syria, saying, "The Syrian civil war will only end when there is inclusive political transition" and one that includes minorities.

Obama also talked about confronting the notion that the warped ideologies of al Qaeda and ISIS represent Islam. On this topic, Obama said "countries have a responsibly to cut off funding to fuels hatred."

"The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie, and all of us, regardless of our faith, have a responsibility to reject it," Obama said.

Introducing Obama at the event was Secretary of State John Kerry, who said the threat posed by violent extremism "has really been the top priority" of Obama.

The president understands best way to do that "is not only protect the American people, but also to protect innocent people everywhere," Kerry said. That's why Obama has undertaken efforts "rebuilding" America's relationship with the rest of the world, Kerry said. Obama has worked to build a global coalition against ISIS of more than 60 countries and knows violent extremism extends beyond any one group, Kerry said.

Upon his entrance, Obama praised Kerry for his "outstanding leadership of American diplomacy," saying in a mirthful manner, "If he has not visited your country yet, he will soon."

After the president's remarks, pool was promptly escorted back to the motorcade, which left at 10:58 and returned at 11:01. No sightings of POTUS.

Another pool report on the remarks to will follow after pool witnesses departure from the White House to Chicago.


Chris Johnson

Washington Blade

Chief Political & White House Reporter

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