WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says telling families of American hostages like Kayla Mueller that the U.S. will not pay ransom for their release is "as tough as anything I do."
Still, Obama defended the U.S. government's no ransom policy hours after Mueller's family said it had received confirmation of her death from her Islamic State captors. The president says that by paying ransom, the U.S. would be strengthening terror groups and putting Americans at greater risk for future kidnappings.
The president says a rescue mission to recover Mueller and other hostages last summer probably missed them by "a day or two."
Obama called Mueller an outstanding young woman with a great spirit that "will live on." He spoke in an interview Tuesday with BuzzFeed News.