NATION

Obama criticizes Sony, warns pace of change will be uncertain for Cuba

Obama warns change of pace in Cuba will be uncertain

In a wide-ranging news conference Friday, President Obama called it "a mistake" for Sony Pictures not to release "The Interview," predicted that change in Cuba is inevitable and tried to make the case that the U.S. is better off than in the past.

Obama spoke at length about the cyberattack on Sony, which caused millions of dollars in damage. Hours before Obama spoke, the FBI blamed the attack on North Korea. Obama pledged that the U.S. would respond, but he also reserved criticism for Sony's decision to pull its comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

"They made a mistake," Obama said, adding that he wished Sony would have "spoken to me first. I would've told them, 'Do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.'"

Turning to Cuba, Obama warned that the pace of change will be uncertain after his historic announcement two days ago that he will reinstate formal ties with the island nation for the first time in half a century.

"The more the Cuban people see what's possible, the more interested they are going to be in change," he said. But how societies change is -- is country-specific. It's culturally specific. It could happen fast. It could happen slower than I'd like. But it's gonna happen."

He downplayed the likelihood of a face-to-face meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro.

Obama, visibly loose hours before he was to take off for a vacation in Hawaii, also touted his end-of-the-year efforts on an array of policy priorities, ticking off job growth, lower gas prices and increasing enrollment in health insurance policies under his landmark law.

"Pick any metric that you want: America's resurgence is real. We are better off," he said.

For more White House coverage, follow @cparsons

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

1:19 p.m.: This story has been updated with minor edits to the first paragraph.

12:38 p.m.: This story has been updated throughout with Obama's comments.

73°