July 2, 2009: Text of Obama’s AP interview (AP)

  • Here you’ve got a situation where we have and other extremists who would gladly blow up Americans, and yet we don’t have a clear terminal point, there’s not going to be some surrender ceremony where Emperor Hirohito signs the papers. And given that fact, how to manage extremists who want to do us harm and may not fall neatly under traditional criminal jurisprudence here in the United States or even international laws, but making sure that both the American people are safe and our Constitution is upheld is a very difficult thing.
  • Obama: I am not comfortable with doing something this significant through executive order. I think it is very important that the American people and Congress, in conjunction with my administration, come up with a structure that is not only legitimate in the eyes of our constitutional traditions, but also in the eyes of the international community, because part of our task in defeating these extremists is winning over allies and populations that right now feel as if we haven’t been living up to our highest ideals.