EXCLUSIVE: President Obama on Bay Area issues


The wide-ranging interview covered everything from gridlock in Washington to the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

Below are highlights of the exclusive interview:

On the divide in party politics:

While the partisan divide hasn't been bridged during his time in office, Obama contended that progress has still been made.

"Despite a lot of these partisan differences, we've been able to get a lot of things done. America's safer than it was, the economy's improved, people are starting to be able to get back to work," he said. "We have an opportunity right now to keep progress going, to strengthen our middle class. But it does require us to put the country ahead of politics."

Proposition 8

Obama said he could not interject too much about Proposition 8 which is before the Supreme Court. But he said, "My personal view is that same-sex couples should have the same rights and be treated like everybody else and that's something that I feel very strongly about."

Manufacturing jobs

Obama referred to the huge advantage the U.S. and Silicon Valley have when it comes to high-tech industries and knowledge-based manufacturing and said reforming the immigration system was key to maintaining this advantage.

In addition to funding research and development, having a highly skilled workforce is critical, he sid. It's important that when " we train someone at Stanford or Caltech that we welcome them with open arms to stay here, work here and start businesses here."

Obama also said that changing the tax code to incentivize investment in the U.S. was also key to making sure businesses stay in the U.S. and move here.

Second term

Obama said even though he's just starting his second term, he's ready to get to work. "I'd like to get as much done as quickly as possible."

It's important to get a lot done before people start looking ahead to midterm elections, he said. "Now's a good time for us to get some things done. America's poised to grow in 2013 and add a lot of jobs as long as Washington doesn't get in the way," he added.

Golfing with Tiger

Turning to a more light-hearted topic, Ashley asked Obama about his recent golf game with Tiger Woods. "He plays a different game than I do. He's on another planet," Obama said of Woods. "He knew that I wasn't a big threat to his world ranking and I knew that I better keep my day job," the president added with a smile.

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