Obama Talks Troop Withdrawal

In a wide-ranging interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, President Barack Obama said that a substantial number of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq would be home within a year, saying Iraqis were now ready to take more responsibility for their own security.

Asked whether a substantial number of troops would be home in time for next year's Super Bowl, Obama replied: "Yes. We are going to roll out in a very formal fashion what our intentions are in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan."

Obama also seemed to indicate that he intends to be proactive at engaging terrorist groups and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan: "We have to make sure we don't let up because there are people out there who want to do us harm."


Dressed casually, in an open-collared checkered shirt, Obama also discussed football, his BlackBerry, the stimulus package, his relationship with Republicans and even laughed at the fact that he was bumped for Jessica Simpson on a recent issue of Us Weekly.

As to the fate of the stimulus package currently before the Senate, Obama expressed confidence that it would be passed but also demonstrated his disappointment that not a single Republican voted for the package when it was approved by the House last week -- despite his best efforts to engage GOP leaders.

He said that he had done "extraordinary outreach to Republicans because they have some good ideas, and I want to make sure that those ideas are incorporated."


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