First thread and embedded video here.
12:41 PM PT: On Ed Henry's stupid question about why won't Obama admit that has to change direction, Obama starts to answer...and is interrupted by Henry, who clearly wants to create a Fox moment. Obama gives him the "Sit down and shut up" smile and hand wave, and says that he has made changes throughout his presidency, and that saying what specifically needs to change now would be premature without Republicans stating specifically what they want the president to do, and what they are willing to do. Excellent answer, I think—he's shifting the burden over to GOP. No question it sucks to not have a Democratic Senate, but the one silver-lining for him is that he can't be expected to control what the Senate does.
12:44 PM PT: Sam Stein asks about Obamacare and who Obama will nominate to replace Eric Holder. Shorter answer on AG question: "We will announce in due course." On Obamacare: "There are certainly some lines I'm going to draw. Repeal of the law I won't sign. Efforts that will take away health care from the 10 million people who now have it and from millions more who are eligible, we're not going to sign it." Also says he won't support anything that undermines the "essential structure" of Obamacare. But if Republicans want to make "responsible changes to the Affordable Care Act, to make it work better, I'm going to be very receptive to those ideas." He won't, however, undermine it.
12:45 PM PT: "Health care inflation has gone down every single year since the law passed," boasts the president–as he should.
12:46 PM PT: "The individual mandate is a line I can't cross," says Obama, reminding journalists that it comes from Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney signed it into law.
12:48 PM PT: Obama also reminds people that open enrollment for Obamacare is right around the corner—says that they are making sure that the website will work "super well." "The law is working. That doesn't mean it can't be improved."
12:51 PM PT: Major Garrett asks about Mitch McConnell's comment that Republicans would perceive Obama executive action on immigration as "waving a red flag in front of a bull." Obama notes that the Republicans saying that sort of thing are generally against immigration reform of any sort. But he also says that he's held off for as long as possible on taking action to give Boehner a chance to get things done. But the days of him waiting are over. And when does take action, those actions "will not prevent" them from passing a law. Simply put: He's calling the GOP's immigration bluff.
12:56 PM PT: Garrett asked about Keystone XL: "There's an independent process, it's moving forward, I'm going to let it play out." Says "on net" it can't increase climate change for him to support it. Also reminds people that Keystone XL would import oil from Canada instead of producing it domestically. Garrett also asked about medical device tax. Obama doesn't say it's a redline (obviouslyit's not) but also won't say that he'd support it—basically says he wants McConnell and Boehner to tell him. On overseas tax holiday, Obama says he wants to talk about tax reform more broadly to achieve infrastructure investments.
1:00 PM PT: Jim Acosta, of CNN, who said before the press conference that he wanted to assess Obama's "physical" state, says it's a fact that Democratic candidates "rejected" Obama, and wonders what he thinks about it. Unfortunately, Obama can't say what I'd like to hear, which is that a lot of the candidates who rejected him were the candidates who lost. Acosta also asks Obama about being a lame duck. Obama says he's going to spend the next two years doing everything he can to make this country a better place. "I'm going to be pretty busy for the next two years," and "Everybody I'm going to filling up my time thinking about how I can make their lives better."
1:12 PM PT: Final question is about Democratic messaging. Obama says the party is still trying to do a better job of expressing who Democrats are and what they stand for. He talks about the two-thirds of people who didn't vote and how important it is to break through to them.
Obama wraps up: "I'll close with what I began with: I'm really optimistic about America." Ticks off a litany of strengths that America has, but says he's concerned about stagnant income growth for middle-class Americans. Ends by saying "This is just an extraordinary country" and that America is "the greatest" country on Earth. Surely, this will outrage Republicans—for his failure to describe America as "exceptional." I kid, I kid...mostly.