Obama said Friday that he believes there are certain crimes that would warrant the death penalty, including mass killings or the killing of children. But he also said there are “significant problems” with the death penalty, including individuals sent to death row who are later found to be innocent.
“This situation in Oklahoma I think just highlights some of the significant problems there,” he said.
He said he would talk with Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials to see what steps have been taken to deal with these problems.
Obama’s comments, his first on the botched execution, came in response to a question during a news conference with German Cancellor Angela Merkel in the Rose Garden.
Earlier in the week, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said the execution had not been carried out humanely. The botched execution has also drawn significant criticism from death penalty opponents as well as from the human rights office of the United Nations, which opposes capital punishment.
Scott Wilson contributed to this report.