President Obama opened his last press conference of the year on Friday with a joke.
“Clearly, this is not the most important thing that’s taking place in the White House today,” the president said. “There’s a screening of Star Wars.”
Before Obama left to watch the highly anticipated film at the White House—where he won’t have to wait in line for hours, unlike the rest of the American public—he spoke to reporters in the briefing room for just over an hour, starting with a list of his administration’s wins from this year: a national unemployment rate below 6 percent, the Supreme Court’s decisions on gay marriage and Obamacare, the climate-change deal, and no end-of-year government shutdown.
“I have never been more optimistic about a year ahead than I am right now,” Obama said. “And in 2016, I’m going to leave it all on the field.”
But the specter of foreign terrorist organizations and their growing reach looms large over the nation as it inches toward the new year, and the president has spent the last several weeks attempting to assuage a public whose fears of an attack have reached post-9/11 levels.
"You told the nation there’s no specific or credible threat of a similar attack, but how is it really possible to know?” one reporter asked Obama. “Aren’t similar plots going to be just as hard to detect beforehand?”