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The transition team did not answer the question, and Mr. Obama on Sunday would not say firmly what he plans to do, in part because he doesn’t want CIA officials or others worrying about “looking over their shoulders” and legal action.

“We’re still evaluating how we are going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions and so forth,” he said. “When it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future, as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past.”

The president-elect, in the discussion with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, also stressed that he would take a “new approach” with Iran, but he declined to go into detail about foreign policy, despite the turmoil in the Middle East, until he is sworn in.

The economy dominated the discussion, as Mr. Obama attempted to sell his proposed economic stimulus package as “bold,” warned repeatedly that “tough” choices will have to be made, and insisted that Congress must pass the plan by mid-February.

Mr. Stephanopoulos asked Mr. Obama whether he is seeking “some kind of a grand bargain” that includes tax reform, health care reform and entitlement reform. Mr. Obama agreed when Mr. Stephanopoulos asked whether he wanted Americans to know that “everybody … is going to have to sacrifice something, accept change for the greater good.”

“Everybody is going to have to give. Everybody is going to have to have some skin in the game,” Mr. Obama said during the interview, taped Saturday in Washington.

Mr. Stephanopoulos, who worked in the Clinton White House, asked which campaign promises Mr. Obama will be forced to cut as a result of the grim economic situation.

“I want to be realistic here: Not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace that we had hoped,” he said.

Mr. Stephanopoulos also pressed Mr. Obama on earmarks, since one of the proposals for his stimulus package is a construction project that would build the Museum of Organized Crime in Las Vegas. It would create jobs but would smack of the special earmarks that Mr. Obama said would not be inserted into his plan.

Mr. Obama said the museum was proposed by the nation’s mayors and not by his team, and he would not say whether or not he would fund it.

“What we have to do is evaluate whether or not these are projects that, as I said, are going to provide long-term benefits to the economy,” he said.

He said there “certainly” will be projects that don’t fall into his top criterion of health care, energy or education, but that those are his priorities and he does not want the package loaded with pet projects.

Mr. Obama lauded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, for saying recently that she would keep Congress in session rather than adjourning for the Presidents Day recess if the package is not complete by then.

“Congress exercises all sorts of prerogatives. They’ve got all sorts of procedures. Everybody wants to be heard,” he said. “I’m respectful of that. … One of the things that we’re trying to set a tone of is that, you know, Congress is a co-equal branch of government. We’re not trying to jam anything down people’s throats.”

He urged patience, saying: “I think we can fix it. But it’s going to take some time.”

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