From NBC's Mark Murray
In his interview today with NBC's Savannah Guthrie, President Obama suggested that the Afghanistan government's legitimacy and partnership with the U.S. will impact the administration's overall strategy for the country. He also said his administration will "take the time to get this right" when it comes to whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan, but that it also will not "drag" out a decision.
When Guthrie asked whether the president could envision announcing a strategy before the Nov. 7 run-off in Afghanistan, Obama answered: "I think it is entirely possibly that we have a strategy formulated before a runoff is determined. We may not announce it."
Be sure to tune into Nightly News tonight for the rest of the interview.
OBAMA: I think we're still in-- finding out how this whole process in Afghanistan is gonna unfold. I thought that the steps that President Karzai took yesterday, agreeing to the certification of a second round was positive. What we've said is that it is important to make sure that we understand the landscape and the partner that we're gonna be dealing with.
Because our strategy in Afghanistan is not just dependent on military forces. It's also dependent on how well we're doing with our civilian development efforts, how well we're doing in stemming corruption. So this is part of a comprehensive strategy; it always has been. And our basic attitude is that we are going to take the time to get this right. We're not gonna drag it out, because there is a sense that the sooner we get a sound approach in place and personnel in place, the better off we're gonna be.
But we also want to make sure that we don't put resources ahead of strategy.
GUTHRIE: Could you envision, however, announcing a strategy before the runoff is determined?
OBAMA: I think it is entirely possibly that we have a strategy formulated before a runoff is determined. We may not announce it.