Biden holds wide-ranging news conference

President Joe Biden marked one year in office with a news conference where he addressed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, vaccines, schools and more.
5:26 | 01/20/22

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Transcript for Biden holds wide-ranging news conference
- President Biden making news just before we came on the air tonight, speaking to the American people, taking questions for more than an hour and a half on the pandemic, on inflation, on voting rights, and what he now promises to do in his second year-- this made immediate news, and we'll get to it at a moment-- above all though, tackling COVID, acknowledging the nation's frustration and fatigue, but pointing out that 2 million fully vaccinated Americans when he took office, now 210 million Americans fully vaccinated today. On the economy, the president pointing to six million jobs created, that he brought them back since the pandemic started, pointing to unemployment now at 3.9%, but also addressing inflation, saying Americans are feeling this at the grocery store and at the gas station. He pointed to the global supply chain issues, and he says they've made progress already on this. He also pointed to his Build Back Better bill with universal pre-K and child care, expanded health care that he says will help ease the burden on the middle class. And for the first time, he acknowledged in his second year now coming of his presidency that he's now willing to break that bill into pieces, into large chunks, if you will, to get significant parts of it passed. Our senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce making news on that front by pressing the president, do you need to be more realistic on your agenda? Mary leads us off. MARY BRUCE: On the first anniversary of his inauguration, President Biden defending his accomplishments even as major parts of his agenda stall. - Can you think of any other president that's done as much in one year? Name one for me. MARY BRUCE: Still, the president acknowledges COVID, inflation, and gridlock in Washington have left Americans frustrated. - Did you overpromise to the American public? - I didn't overpromise, and what I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen. The fact of the matter is that we're in a situation where we have made enormous progress. I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn't get anything done. Think about this. What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they're for. MARY BRUCE: I asked the president how he plans to jump start his agenda. Your top two legislative priorities, your social spending package and voting rights legislation, are stalled, blocked by your own party. Do you need to be more realistic and scale down these priorities in order to get something passed? - No, I don't think so. I'm not asking for castles in the sky. I'm asking for practical things the American people have been asking for for a long time, a long time. And I think we can get it done. - You're not going to scale down any of these priorities, but so far that strategy isn't working. You haven't been able to get some of these big legislative ticket items done. - Oh, I got two real big ones done, bigger than any president has ever gotten in the first term. MARY BRUCE: But currently, Mr. President, your spending package, voting rights legislation, they're not going anywhere. So-- - That's true. MARY BRUCE: Is there anything that you are confident you can get signed into law before the midterm elections? - Yes, I'm confident we can get pieces, big chunks of the Build Back Better law signed into law. MARY BRUCE: He later clarified. - It's clear to me that-- that we're going to have to probably break it up. I think it's clear that we would be able to get support for the-- for the $500-plus billion dollars for energy and the environmental issues that are there. I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now, and come back and fight for the rest later. MARY BRUCE: The president also predicted that Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine, reporters pressing him on how he would respond. - Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does. It's one thing if it's a minor incursion, and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera. But if they actually do what they're capable of doing with the force amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia. MARY BRUCE: That answer raising eyebrows. - Are you saying that a minor incursion by Russia into Ukrainian territory would not lead to the sanctions that you have threatened? Or are you effectively giving Putin permission to make a small incursion into the country? - I think we will, if there's something that-- where there's Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters, et cetera, I think that changes everything. But it depends on what he does. - The president there at the White House late today. Mary Bruce live at the White House for us tonight. And Mary, President Biden defending his first year in office, saying there was a lot on his plate when he was elected but pointing out he's not complaining about that but that that was the reality. He also promised in year two that he would get out there into the country to get his message out. - Yeah, David, the president conceding they have faced some communication challenges here. And so he says going forward, he'll be spending less time here in Washington and more time out in the country speaking directly to voters. And he says when it comes to the midterms, he is going to be deeply involved, highlighting what he says are Democrats' accomplishments and Republicans' failures. And looking ahead, as he told you in your interview, David, the president said, yes, he is running in 2024, and yes, Kamala Harris will be his running mate. DAVID MUIR: And Mary Bruce making news today with her questioning of the president. Mary, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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