"Now is not a time for partisanship, it's a time for citizenship," Obama said. "That's what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism." He also said "WE will define the character of our country" not the terrorists.
I wonder how long it'll be before the right wingers attack him for talking about terror too much.
In a wide-ranging and detailed speech, President Barack Obama on Thursday took responsibility for the intelligence failures that led to the foiled Christmas Day bombing attempt, laid out the steps he plans to take to improve air security, and sent out a thinly-veiled retort to his critics who have accused him of ignoring the problem of terrorism.
"Ultimately, the buck stops with me," Obama said in a televised speech from the White House. "As president, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people. And when the system fails, it is my responsibility."
As expected, the president didn't announce any dismissals or resignations over the December 25 incident aboard Northwest flight 253. "It appears that this incident was not the fault of a single individual or organization but rather a systemic failure across organizations and agencies," Obama said.
The president's speech also addressed, indirectly, criticism from Republicans that the president is "pretending" that the US is at war, or refusing to admit that terrorism is a security problem for the United States.
"We are at war," Obama said. "We are at war against al-Qaeda."
But the president made it clear he would not allow an atmosphere of fear and hysteria to infiltrate his administration.
"We will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the values that has made us great," he said. "That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am president, we will never hand them that victory."