President Obama Optimistic About 2014 

After a rocky 2013, he hopes it will be "a breakthrough year for America."

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President Barack Obama at a news conference at the White House, Dec. 20, 2013

Alex Wong/Getty Images

During his annual year-end news conference on Friday, President Barack Obama said goodbye to a tumultuous year and expressed hope that the growing economy would continue to create new jobs and that his health care program would continue to improve, the Associated Press reports. He said 2014 would be "a breakthrough year for America."

Obama did not dwell on his faltering approval ratings, the AP reports, or the calamitous rollout of his signature health care law or the stack of unfinished domestic plans he leaves behind as he heads for a Christmas holiday in Hawaii.

When asked whether this had been the worst year of his presidency so far, the AP says, he laughed and offered, "That's not how I think about it."

He also suggested that in light of widespread criticism, he may alter the National Security Agency’s ability to collect information on Americans

And on the subject of health care, the president acknowledged that "we screwed it up," adding that "I'm going to be making appropriate adjustments once we get through this year," the AP reports. He did not say whether those adjustments would include high-ranking personnel changes.

He does have some reason to celebrate. The government on Friday announced that the economy improved by a solid 4.1 percent annual rate from July through September, the fastest pace since late 2011 and markedly higher than anticipated. The president also applauded a modest bipartisan budget deal that made its way through Congress this week. While it's too soon to declare a new era of bipartisanship, he said, Washington is "not condemned to endless gridlock," the AP reports.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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