Press Briefing by President Obama on Libya
8:08 AM, Aug 23, 2011
“Moammar Qaddafi and his regime need to recognize that their rule has come to an end. Qaddafi needs to acknowledge the reality that he no longer controls Libya. He needs to relinquish power once and for all.”
—President Barack Obama, August 22, 2011
The White House
Presidential Press Conference, 8/23/2011
2:14 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you everyone for meeting on such short notice. Please take a seat. And apologies to those journalists who were barred from this event because they didn’t abide by the dress code. C’mon guys, you should know better. Sneakers, Jake? Really?
First, let me thank the hard workers here at the Vineyard Golf Club. I’ve never had lobsters so big. Now I know what you’re all thinking—there are a lot of Americans out there who cannot afford to eat lobster several times a day. The good news is Blue Point oysters are quite reasonable.
Q: Mr. President, are you saying “Let them eat oysters?”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m not playing favorites here. Clams are good, too. And so are scallops. But that’s not why we’re all here. You all know why I’ve interrupted my golf play. So let me just say this:
Over the last six months, there has been turmoil in Libya. But now the noose around Moammar Qaddafi’s neck has begun to tighten. And I am fairly confident that his days are numbered.
Q: I’m sorry Mr. President, but didn’t you say the noose was tightening around his neck several months ago?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I did, that’s correct. But back then it was still a loose knot around his neck. Now we’re getting into David Carradine-levels of strangulation. He may still be able to breathe but it’s getting a little uncomfortable.
Q: And you said his days were numbered several months ago, too.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, at the time, Mr. Qaddafi’s days were numbered about 180. Today I’d number them about 30, possibly less. And this is why I believe it is time for the United States take a strong position on Libya—I am urging Mr. Qaddafi to step down and let the people decide.
Q: I believe Mr. Qaddafi is no longer in power, Mr. President.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well that was quick. He must be watching this live.