Speech

Obama Responds to Christmas Bomber

Speaking from Honolulu, Barack Obama made his first public statement about the Christmas Day terrorist attack, perpetrated by a Nigerian man whom Yemeni al Qaeda leaders have since identified as one of their own. "The American people should remain vigilant but also remain confident," he said. "We do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt, but those who would slaughter innocent men, women, and children must know that the United States will do more than strengthen our defenses," he said, pledging to stop terrorists "anywhere," but specifically named "Afghanistan or Pak, Yemen or Somalia" as places where America would seek its enemies. The president named his confidants in the battle: Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and counterterrorism chief John Brennan. He concluded by briefly addressing the weekend's events in Iran, "strongly condemning the violence and unjust oppression." Nonetheless, Iran's struggle is "about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and for themselves," which is presumably his rationale—along with the rest of the international community's—for continuing to keep Iran at an arm's length.