Before delivering remarks on college affordability in Knoxville this afternoon, President Obama said he’s “hopeful” that the spate of terrorist attacks in Paris is over.
Hayat Boumeddiene, wanted for involvement in the shooting of French police officers separately from the Charlie Hebdo attack, is still at large. She and her partner Amedy Coulibaly laid siege to a kosher supermarket in France; Coulibaly and four hostages were killed but Boumeddiene escaped.
“Because events have been fast-moving this morning, I want to make sure to comment on them,” Obama said. “I just spoke to my counter-terrorism adviser. We have been in close touch with the French government throughout this tragedy. The moment that the outrageous attack took place, we directed all of our law enforcement and counter-intelligence operations to provide whatever support that our ally needs in confronting this challenge.”
“We’re hopeful that the immediate threat is now resolved, thanks to the courage and professionalism of the French personnel on the ground.”
But, Obama added, the French government “continues to face the threat of terrorism and has to remain vigilant.”
“The situation is fluid. President Hollande has made it clear that they’re going to do whatever is necessary to protect their people, and I think it’s important for us to understand,” he said.
“France is our oldest ally. I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been directly impacted. We grieve with you.”
The president said to the French people: “We fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share, universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.”
“And in the streets of Paris, the world’s seen once again what terrorists stand for. They have nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering,” Obama continued. “And we stand for freedom and hope and the dignity of all human beings. And that’s what the city of Paris represents to the world. And that spirit will endure forever, long after the scourge of terrorism is banished from this world.”
“So, that’s important,” he said, before quipping “hell, no” apparently at an audience member before launching straight into his planned speech.
“Now, I’m in Knoxville not only because I just like Knoxville,” he said. “But I’m here today because one of my resolutions is to make sure that folks across this great country feel like they are coming back. And there is no doubt, thanks to the steps we took early on to rescue our economy and to rebuild it on a new foundation, America is coming back.”