ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl may have accomplished the impossible Tuesday, posing such a hard hitting question that he left President Obama momentarily without words.
At a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Obama was asked if his influence on world affairs is on a decline and if Mitt Romney was right about Russia being America’s greatest geopolitical foe.
“In China, in Syria, in Egypt, and now in Russia we’ve seen you make strong statements, issue warnings that have been ignored,” Karl began. “Are you concerned that America’s influence in the world — that your influence in the world — is on the decline?
Without his teleprompter, a tired looking Obama appeared to be outmatched by the question. After struggling to find any words at all, he did what politicians do best; avoid the question.
“I think if the premise of the question is that whenever the United States objects to an action and other countries don’t immediately do what we want, that that’s been the norm, that would pretty much erase most of twentieth century history,” Obama eventually replied.
Deflecting the focus away from himself, he said, “The world’s always been messy.”
As for the question about America’s greatest geopolitical foe, Obama dismissed Russia as a “regional power” that’s threatening its neighbors “out of weakness.”
“Russia’s actions are a problem,” he added. “They don’t pose the number one national security to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan.”
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