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by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

August 9, 2013 - 1:52 pm

President Obama tried to convince reporters that he doesn’t have a “bad relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin before comparing him to a bored schoolkid.

“I think there’s always been some tension in the U.S.-Russian relationship after the fall of the Soviet Union. There’s been cooperation in some areas. There’s been competition in others,” Obama said at his press conference today before congratulating his administration on “a lot of progress” in Russia relations during his first term.

“…What’s also true is, is that when President Putin, who was prime minister when Medvedev was president, came back into power, I think we saw more rhetoric on the Russian side that was anti-American, that played into some of the old stereotypes about the Cold War contest between the United States and Russia,” he continued. “And I’ve encouraged Mr. Putin to think forward as opposed to backwards on those issues with mixed success.”

Obama added “there are just going to be some differences and we’re not going to be able to completely disguise them, and that’s OK.”

“Keep in mind that although I’m not attending the summit, I’ll still be going to St. Petersburg because Russia’s hosting the G-20. That’s important business in terms of our economy and our jobs and all the issues that are of concern to Americans,” he said.

He further claimed “our decision to not participate in the summit was not simply around Mr. Snowden. It had to do with the fact that, frankly, on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress, Russia has not moved. And so we don’t consider that strictly punitive.”

“We’re going to assess where the relationship can advance U.S. interests and increase peace and stability and prosperity around the world. Where it can, we’re going to keep on working with them. Where we have differences, we’re going to say so clearly,” Obama said. “And my hope is, is that over time Mr. Putin and Russia recognize that rather than a zero sum competition, in fact, if the two countries are working together, we can probably advance the betterment of both peoples.”

When asked how much he can accomplish in Russia “reset” without a good relationship with Putin, Obama said, “I don’t have a bad personal relation with Putin.”

“When we have conversations, they’re candid. They’re blunt. Oftentimes, they’re constructive. I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. But the truth is is that when we’re in conversations together, oftentimes it’s very productive,” the president said.

“So, the issue here really has to do with where — where do they want to take Russia. It’s substantive, on a policy front. And, no, right now, this is just a matter of where Mr. Putin and the Russian people want to go. I think if they are looking forward into the 21st century and how they can advance their economy and make sure that some of our joint concerns around counterterrorism are managed effectively, then I think we can work together.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Remember the good old days when many of us hated the Russkies? Seems like long ago now.

The malignant narcissist Obama is so inept, rotten and corrupt, I actually find great joy in watching the ultimate Russkie smack Obama around and stick a finger in Obama's eye.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I suspect the real reason Obama cancelled the meeting is that he just got sick and tired of Putin condescendingly patting him on the head.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
America's first trash talking president. Fabulous. Other than himself, what does he respect?

And how does one say "jug eared, President Asterisk" in Russian? Or "we've got Snowden and his computers and you've got what, exactly?"
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Remember the good old days when many of us hated the Russkies? Seems like long ago now.

The malignant narcissist Obama is so inept, rotten and corrupt, I actually find great joy in watching the ultimate Russkie smack Obama around and stick a finger in Obama's eye.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I suspect the real reason Obama cancelled the meeting is that he just got sick and tired of Putin condescendingly patting him on the head.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin doesn't have to condescend to pat O on the head. O is in permanent pat mode. And BOY, does O ever know how to bow.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin reacts this way because Obama wastes his time. Just as ee have realized that Obama wastes ours in meaningless rhetoric and nonserious proposals.

Its the first ADHD presidency.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can see a summit:

Putin: "The Russians want... ."

Obama: "I want ... ."
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Putin and Obama were gladiators in the arena, who would you put your money on?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the chips were down and you had to choose between Putin or Obama to guard your back, who would you trust?

As for me, he isn't recently from Chicago.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin. It would be over in about a minute.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
America's first trash talking president. Fabulous. Other than himself, what does he respect?

And how does one say "jug eared, President Asterisk" in Russian? Or "we've got Snowden and his computers and you've got what, exactly?"
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Putin might as well be eating a sandwich holding a bag with Obama's name on it. Talking with Obama I bet he is bored.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
King Hussein the First does a lot of projection here. Everyone who saw the treatment Putin has given to the child-emperor sine Second One they met (ironically I think they met at Sochi) knew this was coming. Everyone of course except The Obamessiah Himself, who thinks He is perfect.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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