U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday he has personally watched the graphic videos of Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) hostages being executed, saying they have helped catalyze the global community’s revulsion to the militant jihadist organization.
In an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie airing Monday on Today Show, Obama said watching the videos has affected him personally. On Saturday, the U.S. government confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.
“I think it’s fair to say that, anything related to these terrorist actions, I take a look at,” Obama said. “I think it would affect anybody who has an ounce of humanity. And it’s part of the reason why I think we’ve been so successful in organizing such a broad-based coalition.”
Referencing an American woman still being held by ISIS, Obama said the U.S. is doing anything possible to secure her release.
“Well, what we can say is that, as has been true of all the hostages, that we are deploying all the assets that we can, working with all the coalition allies that we can, to identify her location,” he said. “And we are in very close contact with the family trying to keep them updated.”
Hours after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden warned of the potential of a “large outbreak” of measles following increasing reports of the disease, Obama called on all parents to vaccinate their children.
“Measles is preventable,” Obama told Guthrie. “And I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations. The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.”
“You should get your kids vaccinated,” Obama continued. “It’s good for them and the challenge you have is if you have a certain group of kids who don’t get vaccinated, and if it grows large enough that a percentage of the population doesn’t get vaccinated and they’re the folks who can’t get vaccinated, small infants, for example, or people with certain vulnerabilities that can’t vaccinated, they suddenly become much more vulnerable.”