Nightly News   |  April 13, 2010

Obama: 'Sanctions aren't a magic wand'

President Obama took to the world stage Tuesday to wrap up a two-day conference on global security and the threat of nuclear weapons. NBC's Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: In Washington , meantime, the president took the stage, wrapped up a two-day conference on nuclear security . Our chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd was at the president's late afternoon news conference and is with us tonight . Chuck , good evening .

CHUCK TODD reporting: Well, good evening , Brian . The president and the White House declared this summit on nuclear security a success even before it began because it managed to persuade 47 world leaders to simply attend. The real goal here was to start a conversation on the threat of nuclear terrorism and, by that standard, the White House has declared that a success. Formally, the president secured a pledge from all the countries in attendance to secure all loose nuclear material within four years, and of course that's going to take a long time to verify. Now, simmering below the surface both days was the question of Iran 's nuclear ambition and whether China , which has an important trade relationship with Iran , would agree to serious sanctions. It's something the president addressed at his closing press conference earlier today.

President BARACK OBAMA: Sometimes I hear the argument that, well, sanctions aren't really going to necessarily work. You know, sanctions aren't a magic wand. What sanctions do accomplish is hopefully to change the calculus of a country like Iran so that they see that there are more costs and fewer benefits to pursuing a nuclear weapons program .

TODD: Now during the 30-minute presser, the president skirted two questions about whether Israel and Pakistan are playing by the same -- by a different set of rules on nukes. Well, he ducked the Israel question completely, and on Pakistan , Brian , he simply said he believed its presence at the summit was progress, and he believes that he's confident the country 's arsenal is secure from terrorists within its borders.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd in Washington for us tonight . Chuck , thanks.