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Obama: Bergdahl "Not A Political Football"

The president says he makes "no apologies" for the way Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl left Afghanistan.

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WASHINGTON — President Obama dismissed criticism of his decision to trade five members of the Taliban for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl as a "controversy whipped up in Washington" Thursday while saying he had no regrets for the way the swap was set up and made.

"We had an opportunity and we took it," Obama said at a press conference in Europe. "I make no apologies for that."

Obama once again said it was his obligation as commander-in-chief to bring home American service members from conflict. Bergdahl is "someone's child," Obama said. He was "making sure that we get a young man back to his parents."

On Capitol Hill, Obama has faced criticisms from both sides of the aisle over his administration's decision to make the prisoner swap and not tell Congress about it. Obama brushed off those concerns, saying his administration had to act fast and is now going about the process of informing Congress about the decision through briefings like the closed session in the Senate last night.

"We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur," Obama said. "But because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did. And we're now explaining to Congress the details of how we moved forward."

Evan McMorris-Santoro is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News.

Contact Evan McMorris-Santoro at

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