Obama News Conference at Conclusion of G-20 Summit - Page 5 of 13

Obama News Conference at Conclusion of G-20 Summit

And this document, which affirms the need for all countries to take fiscal responses that increase demand, that encourages the openness of markets, those are all going to be helpful in us being able to fix what ails the economy back home.

Let me mix in a — Justin Webb, BBC. Where’s Justin? There he is. Go ahead.

Q Mr. President, in the spirit of openness, with which you say you’re —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Why don’t you get a microphone? See, everybody is complaining. (Laughter.) I’m sure that’s all your fellow British journalists. (Laughter.)

Q They’re extraordinarily well behaved, Mr. President. (Laughter.) In the spirit of openness, with which you say you’re going to run your administration, could you give us an insight into an area or areas where you came to London wanting something and you didn’t get it; where you compromised, where you gave something away to achieve the wider breakthrough agreement?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think that if you look at the language of the document, there are probably some areas where it wasn’t so much of a sacrifice as it might not have been our number-one priority, but it became clear that it was very important to certain other actors.

I’d rather not specify what those precise items would be, because this is a collective document. But there’s no doubt that each country has its own quirks and own particular issues that a leader may decide is really, really important; something that is non-negotiable for them. And what we tried to do as much as possible was to accommodate those issues in a way that didn’t — did not hamper the effectiveness of the overall document to address what I think are the core issues related to this crisis.

Now, keep in mind — I think that this kind of coordination really is historic. I said in the meeting that if you had imagined 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, that you’d have the leaders of Germany, France, China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, a President of the United States named Obama — (laughter) — former adversaries, in some cases former mortal enemies, negotiating this swiftly on behalf of fixing the global economy, you would have said, that’s crazy. And yet it was happening, and it happened with relatively little — relatively few hiccups. And I think that’s a testimony to the great work that Gordon Brown did, and his team, in organizing the summit, the collective work in our teams in doing some good preparation, some good ground work. So I’m very proud of what’s been done.

This alone is not enough. And obviously the actions that each of us take in our individual countries are still absolutely vital. So we have a set of principles, for example, around dealing with systemic risk that I think will be very important in preventing the kinds of financial crises that we’ve seen.