Obama: Sandy Hook tragedy was ‘the worst day of my presidency’

President Obama speaks exclusively with NBC's David Gregory on Meet the Press.
President Obama speaks exclusively with NBC's David Gregory on Meet the Press.

President Obama gave an exclusive interview to NBC’s David Gregory on Meet The Press this Sunday morning, and with just one day left until the deadline on the fiscal cliff, the president targeted his attacks on Republican congressional leaders and also took time to address the tragic shootings in Sandy Hook, and what he plans for his second term in office.

On the fiscal cliff and Republican congressional leaders:

“We’ve been talking to Republicans since the election ended and they have had trouble saying ‘yes’ to a number of repeated offers,” Obama told Gregory.

“If folks can’t say yes to good offers, I also have an obligation to the American people to make sure that the entire burden of deficit reduction doesn’t fall on seniors who are relying on Medicare. I also have an obligation to make sure that families who are relying on Medicaid to take care of a disabled child aren’t carrying this burden entirely. I also have an obligation to middle class families to make sure they’re not paying higher taxes when millionaires and billionaires are not having to pay higher taxes.”

Obama went on to say that the offers he made to Republicans have been “so fair that a lot of Democrats get mad at me.”

“They say that their biggest priority is making sure we deal with the deficit in a serious way, but the way they’re behaving is that their only priority is making sure that tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are protected,” he said of Republican leaders. “That seems to be their only overriding, unifying theme.”

On the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy:

“That was the worst day of my presidency and it’s not something that I want to see repeated,” Obama said of the elementary school shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

“All of us have to do some soul-searching, including me as president, that we allow a situation in which 20 precious small children are getting gunned down in their classroom,” he said. ”This is not something that I will be putting off.”

And in response to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s message following the shooting, Obama refuted the idea that more gun laws would not work in preventing future mass shootings. ”Something has to work,” the president said. “It is not enough for us to say, ‘this is too hard so we’re not going to try.’”

On a second term in office:

In addition to promoting gun control legislation, Obama said that immigration reform was a top priority for the first year of his second term. He went on to signal a push for major infrastructure investments in the future to trigger more growth in the economy.

“One of the nice things about never having another election and never having to campaign again is, I think you can rest assured, that all I care about is making sure that I leave behind an America that is stronger, more prosperous, more stable, more secure, than it was when I came into office,” he said. “That will continue to drive me.”

Take a look at the president’s full interview with David Gregory here:

Obama: Sandy Hook tragedy was 'the worst day of my presidency'