The Toughest Question Chris Matthews Asked Obama in Exclusive Interview

The toughest question President Barack Obama was asked during an interview Thursday with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was, ironically, probably the easiest to answer.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden?

“Not a chance am I going there,” Obama said while laughing. He proceeded to say that either Vice President Joe Biden or former State Secretary Hillary Clinton would make “outstanding” presidents. He also said Biden would “go down in history as one of the best vice presidents– ever.” Obama said the same for Clinton as state secretary.

Both Clinton and Biden are widely believed to be at least considering a run for president.

President Barack Obama talks with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a break in the taping of an interview for the “Hardball with Chris Matthews” show, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, at American University in Washington. The show will air Thursday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

During the interview, which took place in front of students at American University and mostly dealt with Obamacare, the President was asked why young people should want to sign up under the new healthcare exchanges.

“There was a time when I looked healthy like these folks and thought I was never gonna get sick,” Obama said. “But what you discover is that– some tough stuff happens. You– you have a run of bad luck. You suddenly need hospitalization. You have an accident. You get an illness. And for young people to recognize that it is in their financial interest and their health interest to be able to get ongoing preventive care, to be able to get — free contraception and — you know, benefits that — like mammograms that allow them to maintain their health throughout their lives, without fear of going bankrupt or making their family bankrupt if they get sick — that’s something that’s priceless.”

Recent reports have said government systems facilitating the health care law are vulnerable to hackers who could potentially access private information of enrollees. Still, Obama assured Americans that information provided to the government is “protected.”

“You know, there are a whole bunch of things where you’re providing information to the government. It’s protected. It’s governed by a whole series of laws,” Obama said.

He continued, rejecting any comparison between Obamacare and the NSA: “I can’t confirm or get into the details of every aspect of what the NSA does.  … I’ve said before and I will say it again, the NSA actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people’s emails, not listening to their– the contents of their phone calls. Outside of our borders, the NSA’s more aggressive.”

Obama said he would soon be “proposing some self-restraint on the NSA.”

Asked to respond to recent polls showing a decline in trust in both the federal government and Obama himself, Obama directed blame at the Republican Party.

“The entire Republican Party brand over– since Ronald Reagan has been, ‘Government’s the problem,'” Obama said. “And if you, day after day, week after week, election after election are running on that platform and that permeates our culture. And it’s picked up by, you know, ordinary citizens who grow skeptical.  Then it’s not surprising that over time, trust in government declines.”

Here Obama answers why young people should sign up for health insurance using the Obamacare exchanges:

And here Obama talks about public distrust in government:

Editor’s note: All quotes were provided by MSNBC’s “Hardball” in the form of a transcript.

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