President Barack Obama appeared visibly annoyed following a reporter’s tough question on his administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State following the deadly terror attacks in Paris.
After noting that Obama once called the terrorist group the “jayvee team” and claimed to have them “contained,” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked bluntly, “Why can’t we take out these bastards?”
“I just spent the last three questions answering that very question,” Obama replied. “I don’t know what more you want me to add. I think I’ve described very specifically what our strategy is, and I’ve described why we do not pursue some of the other strategies that have been suggested.”
Obama also said the Islamic State is not a “traditional military opponent.”
“We can retake territory,” he added. “And as long as we leave our troops there, we can hold it. But that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing the kind of violent extremist groups.”
Watch his remarks below:
Rather than casting about for a new strategy, Obama said U.S. would intensify its current campaign of airstrikes and arming and training moderate forces. And he called on other nations to step up their involvement in the fight against the extremists.
The president also announced a new effort to share intelligence with France following the coordinated terror spree across Paris that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds. Officials said the U.S. was already using intelligence to help France identify targets in the flurry of airstrikes France launched against the Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria following the attacks.
While officials say the U.S. had been aware of the Islamic State’s desire to strike targets outside the Middle East, Obama said he had not been briefed on any intelligence that indicated an attack in Paris was likely.
Obama’s comments followed a two-day meeting with leaders from the Group of 20 rich and developing countries. The meeting in the seaside city of Antalya, just a few hundred miles from the Syrian border, was planned before the Paris attacks, but the carnage there ratcheted up the urgency in the talks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.