President Obama on Monday roped Hillary Clinton into the group of government officials who failed to plan for the aftermath of airstrikes in Libya, and argued that he is right, not her, about the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Obama's remarks at the White House came less than a week after he endorsed her at the Democratic National Convention, but threaten to undermine her foreign policy credentials as the general election campaign heats up.
On Libya, Obama said at a press conference with the Prime Minister of Singapore that he and Clinton were right to commit to United Nations' sanctioned airstrikes in Libya that ended up toppling Moammar Gadhafi, because it avoided "a blood bath." But he conceded that "all of us collectively were not sufficiently attentive to what had to happen the day after and the day after that" to ensure "basic security and peace inside Libya."
He went on to tout the "good news" in that Libya now has a "government of national accord" that is serious about trying to bring all factions together to stabilize the country's security, and deal with issues like the Islamic State's "penetration in their territory."
He said after those commitments and progress the Libyan government made in confining the terrorist group to an area around the town of Sirte, the U.S. agreed to intervene militarily to "make sure they are able to finish the job."
Obama was more defensive when asked his response to opposition from both candidates to president to the pending Trans Pacific Partnership Trade deal his administration negotiated with twelve Pacific Rim countries.
"Well, right now, I'm president and I'm for it and I think I have the better argument," he said.
"We are part of a global economy, we're not reversing that," he said. "It can't be reversed because it is driven by technology and it is driven by travel and cargo containers and the fact that the demand for products inside our country means we've got to some things from other places."
"Our export sector is a huge contributor to jobs and economic well-being," he added.
Earlier in prepared remarks at the beginning of the press conference, he said, "pulling up the drawbridge on trade will only hurt us and our workers."
"It's not possible to cut ourselves off considering how integrated our economies are," he added. "…The answer is to make sure that globalization and trade is working for us and not against us and that is why today we are reaffirming our commitment to the Trans Pacific Partnership."