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Obama news conference: 'What do you think?'

June 23, 2009 | 10:03 am

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In one of the sharpest exchanges during his news conference, Fox News Channel’s Major Garret noted that President Obama said he was appalled by the violence in Iran and bluntly asked, “What took you so long?” to use the type of tough language the president used today on Iran.

Obama defended his new harsh phrasing but insisted he hadn’t really changed his position.

"We have been entirely consistent," he said and outlined his previous statements that included language favoring the protesters’ rights for dissent while insisting that it was up to Iran to solve its own problems.

The U.S. concern remains stopping Iran’s nuclear program, which Obama called a core issue.

Later, he was asked if harsh comments by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Iran inspired him to make similar remarks.

He smiled. “What do you think?” he said, prompting laughs from the press corps.

-– Michael Muskal

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Photo: Karin Cooper / Associated Press

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