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Video: Obama: Israel has not made a decision on Iran

By
TODAY contributor
updated 2/5/2012 5:52:49 PM ET 2012-02-05T22:52:49

Israel is right to be concerned about Iran's push to join the league of nations that possess nuclear weapons, but diplomacy - not military intervention - remains the "preferred solution" to averting a potential arms race in the Middle East, President Barack Obama said Sunday.

During a live interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer, the president left the military option open if there's evidence that economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts fail to convince the Iranian regime to give up its nuclear ambitions and threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic gateway to the oil-rich Persian Gulf.

"I don't think Israel has made a decision. I think they, like us, think Iran has to stand down their nuclear weapons program," said Obama, speaking from the Blue Room of the White House. "Until they do, I think Israel is going to be very concerned, and we are as well."

Image: Barack Obama, Matt Lauer
Today

Although Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said publicly that Israel could be poised to make a preventive strike against Iran as early as late spring or early summer, Obama said the U.S. has close ties to Israel and will make sure that all diplomatic efforts are exhausted.

"We are going to make sure we work in lock step and work to resolve this, hopefully diplomatically," said Obama, who spoke about Iran, the economy and the Super Bowl during the five-minute interview.

"We're not taking any options off the table," Obama said. "Our preferred solution is diplomatic, we're going to keep on pushing on that front ... [but] I've been very clear that we're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race, a nuclear arms race, in a volatile region."

Obama said the international pressure on Iran through sanctions is working and Iran needs to say, "We will pursue peaceful nuclear power, we will not pursue a nuclear weapon ."

Obama: I deserve another term
During the interview, which will be broadcast in its entirety on TODAY Monday, Obama also talked about his re-election bid. He was reminded of a comment he made to Lauer three years ago, during an interview before the 2009 Super Bowl about the economic crisis, in which he said, "If I don't have this done in three years, then it's going to be a one-term proposition."

Lauer noted a new report showing U.S. unemployment has fallen below 9 percent, but many Americas still don't feel the poor economy has turned around, and asked Obama if he's made his case for re-election.

"I deserve a second term, but we're not done," Obama replied. "We've got to boost up American manufacturing, so that all our manufacturing is building again and selling overseas. We've got to make sure that we're pushing American energy ... and we've got to make sure the skills of American workers are the best in the world.

"We've made progress, and the thing right now is to just make sure we don't starting turning in a new direction that could throw that progress off."

But the president was less forceful in making a prediction on the 2012 Super Bowl. While he confidently picked Pittsburgh to beat Arizona before the 2009 Super Bowl, Obama refused to use a crystal ball on tonight's game, despite much goading from Lauer.

"You're not going to get to me," a laughing Obama told Lauer. "I say to look for a great game.
"I think this is going to be tough. I can't call it."

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Lauer asked Obama whether his female-centric household members - wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha - are fans of Super Bowl quarterback Tom Brady, who leads the glamorous life as a model with wife Gisele Bundchen when he's not winning football games.

"I think they know he's a goodlooking guy, there's no doubt about it," Obama said. But he added Malia and Sasha don't decorate their White House bedrooms with his posters.

"The girls are 13 and 10; they're not quite at the age yet they start putting up the pictures of guys yet. When that happens, I may call some executive privilege and say that's not appropriate."

(Tune in to TODAY at 7 a.m. ET on Monday to see more of Matt's interview with President Obama.)

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Photos: Barack Obama's third year in office

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  1. President Barack Obama, accompanied by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, left, whom he appointed as the head of a Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, delivers remarks at the General Electric plant in Schenectady, N.Y., Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. Obama traveled to the birthplace of the General Electric Co., to showcase a new GE deal with India and announce a restructured presidential advisory board to focus on increasing employment and competitiveness. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. The president's advisers, from left, David Axelrod, David Plouffe, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and Valerie Jarrett, walk along the Colonnade at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, after working with Obama on the day of his State of the Union address. Axelrod left his post on Jan. 28 to become an aide to Obama's re-election campaign. Gibbs exited the administration in February to become an outside Obama adviser. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. House Speaker John Boehner gives a thumbs up to Obama after he praised his humble beginnings as a child during the president's second State of the Union address on Jan. 25, 2011 before Congress (Vice President Joe Biden is seen at left). Obama called for bipartisanship between the parties. "We will move forward together, or not at all -- for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics," he said. (Mike Theiler / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The motorcade of President Barack Obama is stuck in traffic during a snow storm in Washington, January 26, 2011. Obama's motorcade was forced to negotiate multiple traffic accidents and heavy snow from Andrews Air Force Base back to the White House as a snow storm hit Washington and forced the Marine One helicopter to be grounded. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Members of the audience take pictures of President Barack Obama as he works the rope line after speaking about health care during the "Health Action 2011" conference on Jan. 28, 2011 in Washington. The Health Action Network is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama, with lawmakers and cabinet secretaries, after signing of the New START Treaty during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Feb. 2, 2011. The New START Treaty has been the centerpiece of President Obama's disarmament agenda and a major foreign policy priority. (Shawn Thew / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Obama makes a statement about Egypt in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington on Feb. 11, 2011. Obama said that the world had witnessed a true moment of history, after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak departed from office in the face of mass protests to his 30-year rule. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Obama presents outgoing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs with the neck tie that the president wore during his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, during the daily press briefing on Feb. 11, 2011. "I had bought five, six ties. And Michelle didn't like any of them," the president explained. "And then somebody ... turned and said: You know what? What about Gibbs's tie?" He joked that Gibbs didn't want to part with it. "But eventually he was willing to 'take one for the Gipper.'" The gift was given to Gibbs during his last day on the job. Today is the last day Gibbs serves as the White House press secretary. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Obama holds a press conference in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Feb. 15, 2011 in Washington. Obama faced a battery of questions about his budget, which was released the day before. He defended his plan, insisting that was necessary in the face of the nation's growing debt. "We’re not going to be running up the credit card any more. That’s important and that’s hard to do ... I recognize that there are going to be plenty of arguments in the months to come and everybody is going to have to give a little bit.” (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. President Barack Obama shakes hands with former President George H.W. Bush after presenting him the 2010 Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. President Barack Obama talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before a dinner with Technology Business Leaders in Woodside, California, in this February 17, 2011 photograph released on February 18, 2011. In April, the president participated in a town hall moderated by Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto. (Pete Souza / The White House via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. John Legend, Jamie Foxx and Nick Jonas perform a medley during a tribute to Motown hosted by Obama at the White House on Feb. 24, 2011. In November, the first family hosted a country music night with Kris Kristofferson, James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss, the Band Perry, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and others. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Obama signs H.J. Resolution 44, a two-week continuation for the U.S. government, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 2, 2011. The legislation kept the government running until March 18 and cut some $4 billion in spending. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Obama listens to President of Mexico Felipe Calderon during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on March 3, 2011. Their meeting comes at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Mexico over drug-cartel violence at the border. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Obama makes a statement about Japan following last week's earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear concerns, March 17, 2011 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.“Our nuclear power plants have undergone exhaustive study and have been declared safe for any number of extreme contingencies. But when we see a crisis like the one in Japan, we have a responsibility to learn from this event and to draw from those lessons to ensure the safety and security of our people,” said the president. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their daughters Sasha, left, and Malia, tour Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazill, on March 20, 2011. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Obama speaks about the conflict in Libya during an address at the National Defense University in Washington, March 28, 2011. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Obama visits the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on April 9, 2011. After a last-minute deal was minted to avert a government shutdown, the president motorcaded to the tourist destination and declared to monument visitors: "Because Congress was able to settle its differences that's why this place is open today and everybody’s able to enjoy their visit." (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Obama is introduced by Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, April 14, 2011, at a DNC fundraising event. Emanuel served as Obama's chief of staff until Sept. 30, 2010, when he declared his intentions to run for office in the Windy City. (Nam Y. Huh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. President Barack Obama gestures while speaking to reporters about the controversy over his birth certificate and true nationality, Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at the White House.“Over the last two and a half years, I have watched with bemusement,” he said during his remarks. “I’ve been puzzled by the degree to which this thing just kept on going.” (J. Scott Applewhite / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Obama announces a shake up with his national security team by nominating CIA Director Leon Panetta, 2nd from left, as Secretary of Defense and U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, center, to replace Panetta, in the East Room of the White House, April 28, 2011. Obama also announced Ryan Crocker, right, as his nomination to be the new Ambassador to Afghanistan and U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, 2nd from right, to be the commander of allied forces in Afghanistan. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. President Barack Obama tours tornado damage with Tuscaloosa, Ala. Mayor Walter Maddox, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, third from left, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., left, and others, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Tuscaloosa. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The Obamas speak with Astronaut Mark Kelly, right, commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour and husband of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, alongside other Endeavour astronauts at the Launch Control Center Firing Room 1 after the Endeavour launch was scrubbed at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 29, 2011. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Obama, chats with board of trustees members Helen Aguirre Ferre and Armando Bucelo, during the Miami Dade College commencement on April 29, 2011. The president's renewed endorsement of the DREAM Act, which has become a rallying cry for Hispanic and other students around the country, drew enthusiastic applause from more than 3,000 graduates at the ceremony. (Pedro Portal / El Nuevo Herald via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Barack Obama arrives with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington on April 30, 2011. Referencing the official release of his long-form birth certificate days before, the president joked, "Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald ... And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter, like, 'Did we fake the moon landing?' 'What really happened on Roswell?' And 'Where are Biggie and Tupac?'" (Chris Kleponis / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. In this image released by the White House and digitally altered by the source to diffuse the paper in front of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House on May 1, 2011 in Washington. (Pete Souza / The White House via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Shopkeepers gather around television screens showing a speech by President Barack Obama as he announced the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at a market in Quetta on May 2, 2001. Bin Laden was killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan, Obama announced, ending a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt for the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qaida," said the president. (Naseer Ahmed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Obama greets military personnel who have recently returned from Afghanistan after speaking about the mission that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden at Fort Campbell, Ky., on May 6, 2011. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House on May 20, 2011. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle enjoy a pint of Guinness beer in Hayes Bar in the town of Moneygall, the hometown of his great-great-great grandfather, in County Offaly, Ireland, on May 23, 2011. Obama's official visit to the Republic of Ireland was the start of a week-long tour of Europe. (Maxwells Irish Government / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Obama plays table tennis against students with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Globe Academy in London on May 24, 2011. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama talk to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace, in London on May 24, 2011. Obama madea visit to Britain where he and Prime Minister David Cameron will review NATO action to help end conflict in Libya and discuss Western policy towards uprisings in the Arab world. (Charles Dharapak / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Obama talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as they attend the first round table meeting at the G8 summit on May 26, 2011 in Deauville France. Heads of the of the world's wealthiest nations met in Deauville, France, for the G8 summit. (Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Obama greets a resident of a community that was devastated by a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, on May 29, 2011. The tornado, which was packing winds of more than 200 mph, is now considered to hold the record for the highest death toll in U.S. history. (Joe Raedle / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Obama toasts with Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, during a State Dinner at the White House on June 7, 2011. Obama said he and Merkel agreed that the debt crisis in Europe "cannot be allowed to put the global economic recovery at risk." This is the first official visit by a European leader to the White House since Obama became president. Merkel was also presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom at the state dinner. (Andrew Harrer / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. President Barack Obama arrives at an airport hanger at Muniz Air National Guard Base, Tuesday, June 14, 2011, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. it was the first official visit by a sitting U.S. president since John F. Kennedy touched down in 1961. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. President Barack Obama and U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner play golf at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, June 18, 2011. The White House allowed the press to watch them finish the first hole, a par 5. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on June 29, 2011. Speaking about the breakdown of negotiations between the White House and Congress over the debt ceiling, Obama blasted the GOP for rejecting tax increases as a part of of any deal. He said, "You can't reduce the deficit to the levels that it needs to be reduced without having some revenue in the mix ... And the revenue we're talking about isn't coming out of middle-class families who are struggling. It's coming out of folks who are doing extraordinarily well." (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. President Barack Obama presents Secretary of Defense Robert Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his Armed Services Farewell Tribute on the River Parade Field at the Pentagon on June 30, 2011. Appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2006, Gates is credited with many landmark decisions and actions, including the turning around of the war in Iraq by directing the troop surge and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Obama points at a monitor displaying a question directed at him from Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner on Twitter, during his first Twitter Town Hall in the East Room of the White House, in Washington on July 6, 2011. “Obviously John is the speaker of the House, he is a Republican and so this is a slightly skewed question,” Obama replied. “What he is right about is that we have not seen fast enough job growth relative to the need.” (Michael Reynolds / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White Houes in Washington on July 11, 2011. Obama was due to meet with Congressional leaders for the second straight day Monday, after 75 minutes of talks Sunday evening failed to reach an agreement on the debt limit. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor holds up a sign quoting President Barack Obama as saying " ... you don't raise taxes in a recession" while discussing the differences between his and the administration's debt reduction plans at a "pen and pad" briefing in his office on Capitol Hill on July 11, 2011. Cantor's objections to not rolling back the Bush-era tax cuts is bucking President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner's attempt to push a larger, $4 trillion deficit reduction plan. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. President Barack Obama, left, presents the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry July 12, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Petry, who received the award for his courageous actions during operations in Paktia, Afghanistan, in May 2008, is the second living, active duty service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. President Barack Obama, right, applauds former Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyers, 23, from Greensburg, Ky, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, after awarding him the Medal of Honor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Meyers was in Afghanistan's Kunar province in Sept. 2009 when he repeatedly ran through enemy fire to recover the bodies of fellow American troops. He is the first living Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. (Getty Images, AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, and Senior Adviser David Plouffe listen while President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the briefing room of the White House July 22, 2011 in Washington. Obama spoke about the breakdown of debt ceiling negotiations with Republican members of Congress. (Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. Obama speaks with Speaker of the House John Boehner during a meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington on July 23, 2011. Obama summoned top lawmakers for crisis talks Saturday on averting an August debt default that could send shockwaves through the fragile global economy. With an Aug. 2 deadline fast approaching, Obama warned that polarized lawmakers must have a plan for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by the time world markets pass judgment Monday on the stalemate. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Obama speaks in a prime-time address to the nation from the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 25, 2011, as polarized lawmakers failed to rally behind a plan to avert a disastrous debt default perhaps just one week away. Obama said on Monday a temporary six-month extension of debt ceiling does not solve the problem and might not be enough to avoid credit downgrade. (Jim Watson / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Obama arrives to make a statement on debt crisis at the White House in Washington on July 31, 2011. Obama announced late Sunday that he and top lawmakers had reached an 11th-hour deal to avert a disastrous debt default that would have sown chaos in the world economy. "I want to announce that the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default, a default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy," Obama said in hastily announced remarks at the White House. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. President Barack Obama walks with Colonel Mark Camerer, the 436th Airlift Wing Commander, as he arrives at Dover Air Force Base on Aug. 9, 2011, where he will privately meet with families of the 30 Americans that died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. President Barack Obama is pictured during a town hall-style event at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa Aug. 15, 2011. "The fact of the matter is that our debt and deficits are manageable if we make some intelligent choices and make sure that there are shared sacrifices as well as shared opportunities," said the president. (Jason Reed / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. President Barack Obama and daughter Malia, 13, bike together on a bike path through Manuel F. Correllus State Forest while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 23, 2011 in West Tisbury, Mass. This is the third year the president has taken his vacation on Martha's Vineyard. (Matthew Healey / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. President Barack Obama walks with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Newark, N.J., as they returned from Paterson, N.J., after viewing damage caused by Hurricane Irene, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. President Barack Obama delivers his much-anticipated jobs speech to a joint session of Congress in Washington on Sept. 8, 2011. President Obama used the speech to pressure Congress to pass his $300 billion jobs bill, a plan he believes will create jobs, and perhaps preserve his own. The speech had orginally been set for Sept. 7, but after House Speaker John Boehner balked at the idea (the same date as a Republican GOP presidential debate and an NFL game), the White House agreed on the timing change. (Shawn Thew / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. President Barack Obama touches the names of victims engraved on the side of the north pool of the World Trade Center site during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in New York Sept. 11, 2011. (Larry Downing / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Obama speaks about his American Jobs Act at Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 14 2011. "If you love me, you got to help me pass this bill," urged the president. (Stan Gilliland / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. Left to right, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner answer reporters' questions about President Barack Obama's proposed federal deficit reduction plan in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House Sept. 19, 2011 in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. President Barack Obama meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in New York, Tuesday, Sept., 20, 2011. The two leaders discussed the recent assassination of the head of the Afghanistan High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani. "We both believe that, despite this incident, we will not be deterred from creating a path whereby Afghans can live in freedom, safety, security and prosperity," said Obama. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. President Barack Obama talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a meeting in New York, Wednesday, Sept., 21, 2011.Obama told Abbas the United States would veto any U.N. Security Council move to recognize Palestinian statehood. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Left to right, Attorney Walter Brown, Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison, CFO Bill Stover and his attorney Jan Nielsen Little listen to questions from members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Capitol Hill Sept. 23, 2011 in Washington. The executives exercised their constitutional Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination and didn't answer any questions from the subcommittee. The offices and the homes of the Solyndra executives were recently raided by the FBI as part of a criminal inquiry after the solar-energy company filed for bankruptcy after getting $528 million in loan guarantees from the Obama administration. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. A Syrian protester holds crossed-out pictures of President Barack Obama, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, during a demonstration outside the European Union offices in Damascus on Sept. 29, 2011. The demonstrators rallied against new EU sanctions imposed on the pro-government Addounia television channel and five other companies. Arabic writing reads "Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Iran are the quartet of resistance and honour. You are the quartet of clowning and criminality." (Louai Beshara / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Vice President Joe Biden talks with family members of incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army General Martin Dempsey alongside President Barack Obama, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta during a "Change of Office" ceremony at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 30, 2011. Dempsey becomes the 18th Chairman following a four year term by outgoing Chairman Mike Mullen, who is retiring. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the Human Rights Campaign's 15th Annual National Dinner at the Washington Convention Center on Oct. 1, 2011 in Washington. The president spoke to one of the leading gay rights groups two weeks after the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. (Kristoffer Tripplaar / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. President Barack Obama, center, his daughter Malia, left, and Harry Johnson, President and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation, to his right, look up at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, as King family members and the first family look on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, on the National Mall in Washington. From right are Marion Robinson, first lady Michelle Obama, and Sasha Obama. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 20,2011 to discuss the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. “The dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted ... One of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more," said Obama. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Barack Obama appears on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" at NBC Studios on Oct. 25, 2011 in Burbank, Calif. (Kevin Winter / NBC Universal via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy shake hands during a joint press conference on Nov. 3, 2011 ahead of the start of the G20 Summit of Heads of State and Government in Cannes, France. (Lionel Bonaventure / Pool via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. Obama addresses the troops as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard looks on at the RAAF base in Darwin, Australia, on Nov. 17, 2011. President Obama praised Australian troops as among the toughest in the world as a rapturous send-off from Darwin capped off his whirlwind Australian visit. (Scott Barbour / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, wearing Indonesian traditional clothes, attend the gala dinner during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and East Asia Summit in Nusa Dua on the resort island of Bali on Nov. 18, 2011. (Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. Supporters of Pakistan's outlawed Islamic hardliner Jamaat ud Dawa burn an effigy of President Barack Obama, NATO and American flags during a protest in Multan on Nov. 28, 2011, against a NATO strike on Pakistan troops. Hundreds of Pakistanis called on Islamabad to break off its alliance with the United States and get out of the war on al-Qaida as protests against a lethal NATO strike pushed into a third day. Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the cross-border attack early NATO helicopters and fighter jets. (S.s Mirza / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dinner with and pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the U.S. Chief of Mission Residence in Rangoon, Myanmar, Dec. 1, 2011. Clinton is traveling to the country on a two-day visit, the first by a U.S. secretary of state in more than 50 years. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. President Barack Obama sings with daughters Malia, left. Sasha, first lady Michelle, Kermit the frog, entertainer Carson Daly and a man dressed as Santa Claus at the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in Washington Dec. 1, 2011. (Molly Riley / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. President Barack Obama speaks on the extension of the payroll tax cut and of the Republican obstruction of Richard Cordray's nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the briefing room of the White House in Washington on Dec. 8, 2011. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. A grab taken from the Iranian state-run Press TV on Dec. 8, shows what Iranian officials claim is the American-made RQ-170 Sentinel high-altitude reconnaissance drone that crashed in Iran on Dec. 4, displayed at an undisclosed location. President Obama said, "We have asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond." (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki participate in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Dec. 12. 2011. Both leaders are observing the end of the U.S. military presence in Iraq, with all troops due out by New Year's Eve. (Olivier Douliery / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. Obama delivers a statement at the White House Dec.17, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Senate approved a two-month payroll tax cut and extension of unemployment benefits today, with a provision that requires President Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline within two months. (Pool / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. Obama holds hands with his daughters Malia, left, and Sasha, right, as they leave Sea Life Park, a marine wildlife park, with family friends, Dec. 27, 2011, in Waimanalo, Hawaii. (Carolyn Kaster / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. Obama puts his hand on the shoulder of Richard Cordray as he announces his appointment as the country's new consumer financial protection watchdog during a trip to Cleveland, Ohio Jan. 4, 2012. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial oversight law to police the market for consumer products such as credit cards and mortgages. (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. Obama shakes hands with White House Chief of Staff William Daley after announcing Daley's resignation Jan. 9, 2012 at the White House in Washington, DC. Daley is leaving the post just over a year after taking office. Jacob Lew, the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget, at left, will replace Daley. (Kristoffer Tripplaar / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. Members of the organization Witness Against Torture wear orange prison jump suits with handcuffs and a hood over their heads during a demonstration urging the government to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, in Lafayette Park outside the White House, Jan. 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Protesters carry on a 92-hour vigil in a protest of the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of detainees to arrive at the US military facility. (Astrid Riecken / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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