President Barack Obama held a press conference from McCormick Place Monday afternoon.
President Obama and fellow NATO leaders solidified plans earlier in the day for an "irreversible transition" in Afghanistan, affirming their commitment to ending the deeply unpopular war in 2014 and voicing confidence in the ability of Afghan forces to take the lead for securing their country even sooner.
The alliance leaders met for a second day of talks in Obama's hometown. They declared in a summit communiqué that while NATO will maintain a significant presence in Afghanistan after 2014, "this will not be a combat mission."
NATO and its partner nations formally agreed that Afghan security forces would take control of any combat next summer with NATO sliding into a support role. Obama called the transition "the next milestone" in bringing the nearly 11-year long war to a close.
During the press conference, the president reiterated the agreement to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014.
"There is never going to be optimal point where we can say this is all done, this is perfect. There is a process and it's sometimes messy," Obama said. "But Afghanistan won't ever be prepared if they don't start taking responsibility."
Once the country successfully pulls out of Afghanistan, the president made a point to say that the country could start investing the billions of dollars that had been previously spent overseas, back here in the U.S.
As for Chicago's role in hosting the NATO summit, President Obama said he was both proud and pleased of his home town.
"I think Chicago performed magnificently," Obama said. "Those of us in the summit had a great experience. All of the leaders loved the city."
He also encouraged all of the world leaders to go shopping to boost Chicago's economy, and joked about the souvenirs the world leaders were given to remember Chicago by.
"Everyone got a mini-bean, and a football from solider field, although I don't think they knew what to do with it," Obama said.
President Obama did address the protesters that had been demonstrating downtown throughout the weekend and into Monday afternoon. He said wasn't bothered by it, and was impressed by both Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department in how they handled the situation.
"This is what NATO defends: free speech," Obama said. "Obviously Rahm was stressed, but he and Chicago police performed wonderfully."