The Latest: Obama acknowledges Democrats’ election failures


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Barack Obama’s year-end news conference (all times EST):

3:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama says he regrets not being able to transfer his own political success into Democratic races across the country.

The president is acknowledging the failures of his party — and himself — to build up a broad base of support during his tenure. He says the party must do a better job of reaching out to all voters, even in states and counties they are unlikely to win.

Obama says: “That’s something I would have liked to have done more of but it’s kind of hard to do when you’re dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House.”

Democrats have lost more than 1,000 seats in Congress, state legislatures and governor’s mansions during Obama’s two-term.

Obama is speaking at his annual year-end news conference.

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3:17 p.m.

President Barack Obama says everyone should be concerned about the level of cyber hacking that renders governments, businesses and individuals vulnerable.

Speaking at his year-end news conference at the White House, Obama says Russian hacking during the election was not “some elaborate, complicated espionage scheme.”

He says the unsophisticated nature of what transpired concerns him and “it should concern all of us.”

Obama says the episode underscores the “constant challenge” the nation faces with hacking that happens every day.

Obama commented on intelligence and law enforcement assessments that Russia intervened to try to help Donald Trump win the presidential election.

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3:05 p.m.

President Barack Obama is defending how he’s handled the hacking of political sites that took place before the November election.

He says at a White House news conference that his goal is to send a clear message to Russia that such intrusions won’t be tolerated. But he’s now saying what the U.S. response will be.

Obama says with the “hyperpartisan atmosphere” of the election, his main concern was the integrity of the election process. He says he wanted to make sure the U.S. public understood that the White House was trying to “play this thing straight.”

He says he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September, and told him — in these words — to “cut it out.”

The White House hasn’t commented about what a U.S. response might entail. Options could include a retaliatory cyberstrike on Russian networks or sanctions targeting Putin’s associates.

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3 p.m.

President Barack Obama says Syria, Russia and Iran have blood on their hands for what’s happened in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Obama says the world is “united in horror” at the assault on rebel-held areas of Aleppo.

Obama — at a White House news conference — is accusing the Syrian government and its two powerful allies of deliberately “surrounding, besieging and starving innocent civilians,” and targeting aid workers and medical personnel. He says entire neighborhoods have been reduced to “rubble and dust.”

The president also says civilians have been executed.

Obama acknowledges that Syria’s almost 6-year civil war has been among the hardest issues he’s faced. Despite his failure to stop the conflict, Obama isn’t saying anything to suggest a change in U.S. strategy.

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2:46 p.m.

President Barack Obama is using his year-end news conference to boast about his administration’s achievements.

Obama is citing a number of positive economic indicators such as a declining unemployment rate and higher rates of insured people under his health overhaul. And he’s highlighting diplomatic achievements — among them, the reopening of relations with Cuba.

Obama says he’s leaving the country “stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started.” But he’s reminding the public that there’s more to be done on the country’s biggest problems. He says he’s going to continue working to push the agenda of his administration after leaving office.