WASHINGTON, D.C,None - WFTV anchor Greg Warmoth spoke one-on-one with President Barack Obama on Monday in Washington, D.C.
During the exclusive interview, the president told Warmoth that the war in Afghanistan has been at the top of his mind lately, especially in light of the massacre in Afghanistan, and the recent Koran burning on the AUS base.
Over the weekend, a 38-year-old American soldier went on a shooting rampage, killing 16 Afghan civilians, including women and children.
Warmoth asked Obama what the recent incidents mean for the future of the United States, such as involvement, fear of retaliation and fear of more terrorism on American soil.
Obama told Warmoth that he was saddened by the killing of innocent civilians, and he called it an isolated incident that won't change the U.S.'s involvement in the country.
"I talked to Karzai and expressed my condolences," Obama said.
There has been a mass shooting of civilians at the hands of Americans during an unpopular war before.
The My Lai massacre happened in 1968 during the Vietnam War, when dozens of Americans soldiers were accused of senselessly killing hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese.
Outrage prompted loud calls to wind down the war.
"Mr. President, there was a My Lai massacre. Is this a My Lai moment?" Warmoth asked.
"No, not comparable. It appears you had a lone gunman who acted on his own in a tragic, tragic way," Obama replied.
Obama did not know or did not share a potential motive as to why a soldier would embark on a 3 a.m. killing spree.
The Taliban will not wait for answers. The group had vowed retaliation against all U.S. forces.
But Obama said the massacre will not lead to immediate withdrawal of troops.
"It does signal withdrawal in accordance with my plan with Afghans taking the lead, so we can get our troops home," Obama said.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told WFTV there were no plans to raise the nation's terror threat level as of yet.
"What do you say to a Florida family who has a soldier there and they hear the word retaliation?" Warmoth asked.
"Well, look, this is incredibly dangerous from the start, and it's not going to get any easier over the next few months. But what those families need to understand, in the same way I brought our troops home from Iraq, I'm determined to bring them home from Afghanistan. We have to do it in a responsible way," said Obama.
Obama said the U.S. will be out of Afghanistan by 2014.
Meanwhile, a big issue on the minds of voters is the skyrocketing price of gas.
Obama referred to the phrase, "there's no magic bullet." The president said any politician who says there is one is not being truthful.
Still, an ABC poll released on Monday shows Obama is taking the blame.
The poll shows two-thirds of Americans disapprove of his handling of gas prices, which is a record high for the president, and only eight months before the election.
"Well look, as long as gas prices are going up, people are going to feel like I'm not doing enough, and I understand that," Obama said.
The president said his fight for a payroll tax cut last year will help Americans afford higher gas prices.
"Ultimately, though there's no silver bullet. The way we're going to solve this problem is what we talk about today in our energy report," Obama said.
The president said America has had the highest domestic oil production in more than a decade.
The nation now exports more crude than it imports, reducing dependence on foreign oil, along with new fuel efficiency standards for cars and investments in alternative fuels.
"The bigger driver of these gas prices is speculation of war in the Middle East, which is why we've been trying to reduce loose talk about a war there," Obama said.
Republicans on the campaign trail see gas prices as a political opening against Obama.
'Your opponents say they can get gas to the $2.50 range. What do you think Americans should be OK with?" Warmoth asked.
"First of all, nobody believes that. They know that's just politics. Anybody who says we can get gas down to two bucks a gallon just isn't telling the truth," Obama said.
Obama did not give Warmoth an answer as to how much Americans should pay for gas.
However, Obama said his energy advisor did not rule out tapping the country's oil reserves.
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