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Obama toughens tone, vows to 'defeat' and 'dismantle' Islamic State

President Obama on Friday sought to fine-tune his response to the growing Islamic State terror threat, vowing to "degrade and ultimately defeat" the network -- seemingly abandoning, at least publicly, his previously stated goal of making them a "manageable problem." 

"We are going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, the same way we have gone after Al Qaeda," Obama said in Wales, during a press conference at the close of a meeting of NATO allies. 

The president caused some confusion earlier in the week after saying the goal was to "destroy" the Islamic State -- also known as ISIL, or ISIL -- but also to "shrink" it to a "manageable" problem. 

Secretary of State John Kerry clarified Friday that there is no strategy to "contain" the group, and Obama agreed. 

"You can't contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc," Obama said. 

He said the goal must be to "dismantle" the group. 

Obama administration representatives sat down with delegates from nine allies -- including France and Britain -- on the final day of the NATO summit to discuss the Islamic State threat. Kerry is separately trying to build support among Middle East partners for action against the group.

Obama on Friday claimed "there was unity" at the NATO summit over the belief that ISIS poses a "significant threat to NATO members" and regarding a readiness to take action.  

"I did not get any resistance or pushback to the basic notion that we have a critical role to play in rolling back this savage organization," Obama said. 

The president has taken criticism in recent days for giving mixed signals over how far the administration is willing to go to target the Islamic State. He still hasn't said whether he would authorize airstrikes in next-door Syria, where the group also operates. 

But the president touted the more than 100 U.S. airstrikes that have already been conducted in northern Iraq, and said the next steps will involve developing a "strong ground game" on behalf of allies in those countries, including Sunni tribes. 

"It's not going to happen overnight," Obama said.