President Barack Obama says Afghan's President Hamid Karzai has made progress in cleaning up corruption "but there's a long way to go."
In an interview broadcast Tuesday, Obama tells NBC's "Today" show he chose not to visit Afghanistan at the time he announced a troop surge last year because elections were under way and he didn't want to be seen as "parachuting in and changing the outcomes there." He said he visited Sunday because he wanted to show support for troops.
Obama said of Karzai: "I think he's listening, but I think the progress is too slow. What we are trying to emphasize is the fierce urgency of now." He said Karzai "made important steps" to improve life for Afghans but that we "can't dilly-dally around."
Turning to the topic of the Tea Party, Obama said he believes the movement is built around a "core group" of people who question whether he is a U.S. citizen and believe he is a socialist. But beyond that, Obama told Lauer he recognizes that the movement involves "folks who have legitimate concerns" about the national debt and whether the government is taking on too many difficult issues simultaneously. Obama said he feels "there's still going to be a group at their core that question my legitimacy." But he said he didn't want to paint Tea Party activists "in broad brushes" and he hopes to win over members who have "mainstream, legitimate concerns."