The Unfinished Business of President Barack Obama

SOPEL: Let me just ask you this – finally, because- I’m sure you would like it to be written that President Obama turned “Yes we can” into –

OBAMA: “Yes we did.”

SOPEL: “Yes we did.”

OBAMA: Yeah.

SOPEL: But is there an issue that there are be going to be unfinished business? Perhaps most notably on race and on guns by the time you leave the White House?

OBAMA: There will be. Look there was never a promise that race relations in America would be entirely resolved during my presidency or anybody’s presidency. I mean, this has been a running thread – and – and fault line in American life and American politics since its founding. And so some of the most recent concerns around policing and mass incarcerations are legitimate and deserve intense attention. And I feel that we are moving the ball forward on those issues. What I will say is that – eight years – well, after eight years of my presidency, that children growing up during these eight years will have a different view of race relations in this country and what’s possible. Black children, white children, Latino children. America is becoming more diverse, it’s becoming more tolerant as a consequence there’s more interactions between groups. There are going be tensions that arise. But if you look at my  daughters’ generation, they have an attitude about race that’s entirely different than even my generation.

And that’s all for the good. You mentioned the issue of guns, that is an area where if you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.

And you know, if you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands. And for us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing. But it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.

SOPEL: Mr President, thank you very much.

OBAMA: Thank you so much. I enjoyed it.
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