I want to get right to Omicron. As you know, now the dominant strain here in the US. Dr. Fauci now says it could account for 90% of all new cases by just next week. The CDC now warning Americans we could see peaks that we haven't seen so far in this pandemic. I know just before we sat down here, the FDA has authorized the first COVID pill, the first antiviral pill from Pfizer, 89% effective at preventing hospitalizations and death. The obvious question for you, Mr. President, is how much has the government purchased? How much is ready to go, right away? We've purchased several million, already. But here's, right away I think, don't hold me to the number, I think it may be 20 million. But a lot of pills. All they can make so far. But, you know, I hope we don't get there, because if people get the shots, they get their two shots and a booster, they're not going to be in a position where they're going to need such a pill. Do you have any idea how quickly the American people will actually see these pills? How soon we're going to be able to get them to hospitals that are already seeing patients? The answer is, I think it'll be a matter of weeks to a month to get the pills. There won't be enough to get to all the hospitals. We've ordered a lot more of those pills. We have to order millions of those pills. We learned just before we sat down together here that omicron has now been detected in all 50 states. You told the American people just yesterday that we are prepared for what's coming. But three days before Christmas, if you look out across the country, you see it everywhere, these long lines. People waiting for hours outside in the cold just to get tested... Yup. ...to be reassured before they spend time with their family. Yeah. If you go to the pharmacy, we hear this over and over again, empty shelves, no test kits. Is that a failure? No, I don't think it's a failure. I think it's, you could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago. I've ordered half a billion of the pills, 500 million pills, I mean, excuse me 500 million test kits that are going to be available to be sent to every home in America if anybody wants them. But the answer is, yeah, I wish I had thought about ordering a half-a-billion pills two months ago, before COVID hit, here. But we're nearly two years into this pandemic, you're a year into the presidency, empty shelves, no test kits in some places three days before Christmas, when it's so important. Is that good enough? No, nothing's been good enough. But look where we are. When, last Christmas, we're in a situation where we had significantly fewer vaccinated -- people vaccinated. Emergency rooms were filled. We had serious backups in hospitals that were causing great difficulties. Um, we're in a situation now where we have 200 million people fully vaccinated, 200 million people fully vaccinated. And we have more than that who have had the one shot, at least one shot, and they're getting these booster shots, as well. So we've moved along, and we've still -- the CDC is still saying, and my, uh, the docs who advise me on this are still saying, if you are tested, if you know where you are in terms of having gotten the shots, there's no reason why you can't get together with your family and your friends. Um, and we couldn't do that last Christmas. Let me ask about what Dr. Fauci said, I think a week ago today, about the so-called neutralizing antibodies. He said after two shots it did wane over some period of time, and then it was only after the booster that you got back into that protective zone. So, are you talking about gatherings with people who are had both vaccinations, both shots, and the booster? That's the safest thing you can do, both shots and a booster. Let me ask you about what you said on July 4th. I know you remember it well. You told the American people, we're closer than ever to our independence from a deadly virus. Do you think you overpromised? No. We were closer than ever. But there's a lot we don't know. It's like, I'm sure, you're going to ask me: when's this going to end? How are we going to do this? Are we certain we're going to be able to overcome the Delta -- or the, excuse me, the -- uh, the virus, COVID-19. The answer is -- the expectation is yes, because we have the best scientists in the world, we've moved so rapidly compared to other countries, but we don't know. We don't know for certain. So that's why -- But -- what would you say to some Americans who might say, this feels like we're chasing Omicron, instead of being ahead of it, fully prepared for it? Well, look, Omicron only really came on the scene just before Thanksgiving. We weren't talking about Omicron six months ago. But it's just recent. And so, we are chasing Omicron. But the fact of the matter is, you're chasing whatever comes on the scene that hadn't, wasn't there before. And this wasn't there this last summer, for example. The Vice President said, in recent days, that you didn't see Delta coming, you didn't see Omicron coming. How did you get it wrong? How did I get it wrong? Nobody saw it coming. Nobody in the whole world. Who saw it coming? I guess, I guess what I'm asking is, scientists have long said that when you're dealing with the coronavirus, COVID-19, that there are going to be mutations, that most likely, over time, it is going to become very transmissible because this virus is trying to stay alive, trying to survive. Yes. So, did the administration not expect that there could be moments like this one where you'd have a highly transmissible variant that's possible around the corner? Sure. It was possible. It's possible there could be other variants that come along. That's possible. But what do you plan for? You plan for what you think is available, that is the most likely threat that exists at the time, and you respond to it. And I think that that's exactly what we've done, and -- for example, Omicron is spreading rapidly, but the death rates are much, much lower than they were. This is not March of 2020. This is a very different time that we're in now. I know you're going to get together with the children and grandchildren for the holiday. How will that work? Will you all rapid test before you're together? Yes. I'm doing it almost every day. And is your hope that for the millions of Americans who are trying to get tests before the holiday that they'll be able to do... Yes. Well, they won't be able to do it, the number of tests available, I've ordered half a billion of them for the United States to be sent to - everybody who wants a test can have one sent to home. And that's January? That's in January. And so, will they have those rapid tests by, when, mid-January, by the end of January? Well, the answer is, the expectation is it will be by, rapid tests will start going out in the beginning of January, because they're being produced now. Let me ask you about what we heard from Israel, overnight. They're already moving forward with a second booster, now. So, this would be the fourth shot for people 60 and older and for frontline medical workers. Is that something you're considering? I listen to the scientists. And I'm sure the scientists are paying very close attention to that. There may be a need for another booster, but that remains to be seen. So, it remains a possibility? It remains a possibility. Mr. President, let me ask you about just getting on a plane in this country. We're seeing millions travel home for the holidays, filling the airports and getting on these planes. Have you considered requiring passengers in this country to be vaccinated to get on flights? It's been considered, but the recommendation I've gotten, it's not necessary. Even with Omicron? Even with Omicron. That's the recommendation I got, so far, from the team. Let me turn, Mr. President, to Build Back Better. Many say it's an agenda in peril, right now, in large part because of Senator Joe Manchin. Universal Pre-K, the child tax credit, of course, historic money to fight climate change, in the words of your administration. You've met with Senator Joe Manchin a number of times. You've invited him to your home in Delaware. He came to the White House a week ago. Then he's on Sunday morning cable and says, I'm a no. Look... How does that happen? How were you not able to close the deal? Look, let's talk about what we have done. We have passed more major legislation than anybody in their first year ever, ever, ever, ever. And I haven't given up on this. I haven't given up on it. But Senator Manchin's main sticking point, it would appear, is the child tax credit. Are you willing to take that out if it means bringing him on board? Well, look, I want to get as much as I can possibly get done. As much as we can possibly get done. I still think we'll be able to get a significant amount of what we need to get done, done, particularly as the American people figure out what is in this legislation. It's extremely consequential. Unemployment has come down. Gas prices have come down 10, 11 cents or so since [Crosstalk] -- Because I -- I made sure -- You tapped into the strategic reserve. I know that. But American families are feeling this. They are. We have to acknowledge that. They are. Inflation at a 40 year high. The Fed just indicated that they might have to raise interest rates up to three times in the coming year just to slow things down. That sounds like Americans should be prepared for potentially more pain before this gets better. If we don't pass, Build Back Better, I think you're right. But if we do -- 17 Nobel laureates in the economy said it's going to bring down inflation if we pass what I'm talking about. As we prepare to mark the new year, we also know that means January 6th this coming It is. One year since the attack on the Capitol. I sat down recently with three of the officers who testified before the American people about being attacked that day, the one officer trapped in that doorway, and all three of them kept coming back to one word in this interview, they kept saying: accountability. And they told me that means if it leads right to the very top, we want accountability. Do you agree with those officers? I think accountability is necessary. Look -- -- and that means if it goes right into the previous administration? No matter where it goes. Those responsible should be held accountable. You know many of your supporters believe, in order to protect democracy in this country, you've got to protect voters' rights. Yes. As we near the end of year one, nothing's been done. It's been blocked by the filibuster. Are you prepared to support fundamental changes in the Senate rules to get this done? Yes. What does that mean? That means whatever it takes. Change the Senate rules to accommodate major pieces of legislation without requiring 60 votes. So, you support a carve-out of the filibuster for voting rights? [The White House asserted in a press conference that the following was edited from the next statement. ABC News did not dispute that it was edited for brevity: "Well, I don't think we -- we may have to go that far. But I would -- if they -- if it's -- "] Well, the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster. I support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster. I want to ask you about something I asked weeks before the election, when we sat down. You said you would absolutely serve eight years if elected. Do you plan to run for re-election? Yes. But, look, I'm a great respecter of fate. Fate has intervened in my life many, many times. If I'm in the health I'm in now, if I'm in good health, then, in fact, I would run again. And if that means a rematch against Donald Trump? You're trying to tempt me, now. [Laughs.] Sure. Why would I not run against Donald Trump if he's nominee? That would increase the prospect of running.