Analysis: Obama offers reassurance, little policy in speech

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WASHINGTON (AP) - There were no new policy prescriptions, no fresh military strategies and no timelines. When President Barack Obama seized the spotlight for a rare prime time address Sunday night, he came with one major message: It's going to be OK.

Standing in the Oval Office, Obama sought to calm nerves and quiet a chorus of critics who charge the president has been too slow to acknowledge the threat posed by Islamic radicalism and too tepid in his response.

"The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us," he said, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group. "... We will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless. And by drawing upon every aspect of American power."

Obama's short address - just 13 minutes - underscored the simple message, one that seemed to conflict with the iconic, high-profile setting. Obama has used the Oval Office as a backdrop, a favorite of past presidents, just three times since taking office seven years ago.

But the lack of new policies underscores the White House's confidence in the current approach and a paucity of good alternatives. Obama is disinclined to make dramatic changes in reaction to current climate of fear. One senior administration official, who asked for anonymity to discuss strategy, said the speech was primarily aimed at explaining the president's current plan to ordinary Americans who've been rattled by the rash of attacks in Paris, the Sinai Peninsula and, most recently, San Bernardino.

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