From NBC's Andrew Merten and Abby Livingston
Asked if he agrees with some fellow Democratic senators if Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki should be removed from power, Obama said the problem "goes beyond" who specifically is in power.
"We could have one, two, three, four replacements for Maliki," Obama said, "but if the underlying political dynamic hasn't changed, then we're not going to see progress. … We know that by putting outstanding U.S. troops on the ground, that they will, on the short term, reduce violence. But unless we can get the various factions to work together, we're not going to see the kind of progress that's needed."
Obama made the comments in response to questions from reporters after a roundtable discussion on education in South Carolina. The school he spoke at is the oldest public school in the Palmetto State and was highlighted in the documentary "Corridors of Shame" for its poor conditions. Obama acknowledged the conditions at J.V. Martin Junior High and emphasized his view that federal funding has been misplaced and could be put toward schools like this one.
"We're building schools -- in Baghdad," Obama said, and "we have lost a lot of revenue from tax cuts to individuals that didn't need them and weren't even asking for it."