The latest addition of 1,500 US troops to Iraq "signals a new phase" in the fight against ISIS (or ISIL, or Islamic State), but not one that includes Americans engaging in combat, President Obama says in a wide-ranging discussion with Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, CBS News reports. "The airstrikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL's capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making," he explains. "Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops, that can start pushing them back." American troops will only help by training Iraqi soldiers at four training centers, he says, and won't work in coalition with Iranians also fighting ISIS in Iraq. On that and other topics:
- "There is some de-conflicting," says Obama about Iran, "in the sense that since they have some troops or militias they control in and around Baghdad, yeah, we let them know, 'Don't mess with us. We're not here to mess with you. We're focused on our common enemy.'"
- Obama implies that a post-election Cabinet shuffle may happen. "There are always going to be changes," he says. "We will be bringing in new folks here because people get tired. You know, it's a hard job."
- When Schieffer suggests that Obama doesn't seem to love politics, the president says, "Here's, I think, a fair statement: If your name is Barack Hussein Obama, you had to have liked politics in order to get into this office."
- On immigration, he still welcomes action from Congress while warning that he may act on his own, Politico reports. He gives John Boehner until year's end to facilitate a bill, but then "I'm going to have to take the steps that I can to improve the system. Every day that I wait we're misallocating resources, we're deporting people that shouldn't be deported, we're not deporting folks that are dangerous and need to be deported."
- On Syria: It's an "almost absolute certainty" that President Bashar al-Assad has no legitimacy left and must resign, CNN quotes Obama as saying—but US military action remains off the table. "We do want to see a political settlement inside of Syria. … We can't solve that militarily, nor are we trying to."
See a full transcript of the interview at CBS News
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