Continuing his pattern of intruding upon every major event (or at least the ones he’s aware of), President Obama appeared on Friday night’s broadcast of the Winter Olympics, just before the Opening Ceremonies. When Bob Costas asked, “[D]o you have a message for the United States team?” Obama replied, “Well, we couldn’t be prouder of them” and then immediately turned things back to himself: “I’ve had the chance now to meet a lot of Olympic athletes, including those that were so successful in Vancouver. One observation, when they came to the White House, Michelle and I shook hands and met with all of them, and they all look really healthy.”
Before offering up that keen insight, Obama had tried to make it sound like the reason he isn’t in attendance at the Games is because he’s just too busy (presumably with his phone and his pen): “Well, unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to go to the Olympics since I’ve been president. There are a lot of things going on—even when it was as close as Vancouver, I didn’t attend. And the vice president and the first lady, obviously they have got pretty busy schedules themselves.” Yes, obviously—I mean, is anyone more taxed than the first lady and the vice president?
Obama also opined that part of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “shtick” is his “wanting to look like the tough guy.” He immediately added, “U.S. politicians have a different style.” Teddy Roosevelt would have cringed (and then, in the case of Obama, concurred).
But the best part of the interview was this question from Costas, who proved far less compliant than most members of the White House press corps:
“You came into office promising to reset America’s relationship with Russia, and, if anything, it seems to have deteriorated. And it also seems that if anyone is doing the resetting it is President Putin: Syria, Iran, asylum for Edward Snowden, laws prohibiting U.S. couples from adopting Russian orphans. How well do you think you will work with President Putin going forward? How effective will [you] be?”