CNN's Jim Acosta to Obama on ISIS: "Why Can't We Take Out These Bastards?"

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JIM ACOSTA, CNN: Thank you very much, Mr. President.

I wanted to go back to something you said to Margaret earlier when you said you have not underestimated ISIS' abilities. This is an organization that you once described as a JV team, that evolved into a force that is now occupying territory in Iraq and Syria and is now able to use that safe haven to launch attacks in other parts of the world.

How is that not underestimating their capabilities? And how is that contained, quite frankly? And I think a lot of Americans have this frustration that they see that the United States has the greatest military in the world, it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS.

I guess the question is, and if you'll forgive the language, is why can't we take out these bastards?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Jim, I just spent the last three questions answering that very question. So, 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 very specifically why we do not pursue some of the other strategies that have been suggested.

This is not, as I said, a traditional military opponent. We can retake territory. 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 these kinds of violent extremist groups.

And so we are going to continue to pursue the strategy that has the best chance of working even though it does not offer the satisfaction, I guess, of a neat headline or an immediate resolution.

And part of the reason, as I said, Jim, is because there are costs to the other side.

I just want to -- I just want to remind people. This is not an abstraction. When we send troops in, those troops get injured, they get killed, they're away from their families. Our country spends hundreds of billions of dollars. And so, given the fact that there are enormous sacrifices involved in any military action, it's best that we don't, you know, shoot first and aim later. It's important for us to get the strategy right and the strategy that we are pursuing is the right one.

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