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White House: Obama Can Walk and Chew Gum

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
At a press gaggle aboard Air Force One today, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters that President Obama's focus on national security in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt will not take his focus away from increasing employment levels and other issues.

"When you're President of the United States you've got to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, so you can anticipate there's going to be a very heavy push to get Americans back to work," Burton said.

He said that in addition to working "to get the economy as strong as it can be," the White House would remain focused on passing "health care [reform], financial regulatory reform, things like that."

Special Report: The Christmas Day Terror Attack

Burton added that counterterrorism and the situation in Yemen are not the only national security concerns in the wake of the apparent bombing attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

"…we've also got issues to deal with with Iran and North Korea and Pakistan," he said. "And you can bet that the president and his principals and deputies will all be taking on their full plates of work with rested minds hopefully and we'll be able to make some good progress here right out of the starting gate."

Burton made the comments as the president and White House press corps flew back to Washington from Mr. Obama's vacation in Hawaii. The president and his family arrived at the White House earlier today.

The president has no public events scheduled today, though Burton suggested he might make an appearance at some point.

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