FW: Pool report #2

From: Kumar, Anita [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 12:09 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: Pool report #2

October 15, 2015

More POTUS quotes from his statement on Afghanistan in the Roosevelt Room:

POTUS said America's combat mission in Afghanistan came to a "responsible end" last December.

He praised military for their "skill and valor" and asked Americans to remember the more 2,200 U.S. troops who have died in Afghanistan.

"While America's combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures."

"As commander in chief, I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again."

He said he continually assesses "honestly" the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. He said he has made adjustments as they were needed over the years.

He called his statement today an update to the American people on "our efforts."

He said Afghan forces have been fighting for their country "bravely and tenaciously" and continue to hold most urban areas.

"The bottom line is in key areas of the country the security situation is still very fragile" and "risk of deterioration."

He assured the Afghan people that America's commitment remains firm.

On US troops, he said "Their mission will not change."

He called this "the most solemn decision that I make."

"As your commander in chief, I believe this mission is vital to our national security interests."

To the American people: "I know many of your have grown weary of this conflict. As you are well aware, I do not support the idea of endless war. I repeatedly argued against marching into open-ended military conflicts that do serve our core security interests."

"After so many years of war, Afghanistan will not be a perfect place. It's a poor country and will have to work hard on its development. There will continue to be contested areas. But Afghanis are standing up for their country. If they were to fail, it would endanger us all."

"We have made an enormous investment in a stable Afghanistan."

"It's the right thing to do,"

POTUS' prepared remarks were nearly 14 minutes.

Then in response to a question from your pooler about whether he was disappointed by his decision, POTUS said no.

He said his approach is to continually assess the situation on the ground and make adjustments when necessary.

"This isn't the first time those adjustments have been made and this probably won't be the last."

"This is consistent with the overall vision that we have and frankly we anticipated as we were drawing down troops that there would be times where we might need to slow things down or fill gaps in Afghan capacity and this is a reflection of that."

He said the deaths always "weigh on my mind."

"I'm absolutely confident this is the right thing to do."

Please check quotes against transcript.

--

Anita Kumar

White House Correspondent

McClatchy Newspapers

xxx-xxx-xxxx (office)

xxx-xxx-xxxx (cell)

xxx@email.com

Twitter: @anitakumar01

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