In an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation conducted Friday at the White House, President Obama opined on a number of current headlining issues, including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and criticism about his use of “politically correct” rhetoric in describing Islamic terrorism.
Almost melancholy in tone, the president began with his thoughts on the nomination of Donald Trump, lamenting that the Republican Party has changed “over the course of 8, 10, 15 years. If you think about what a Bob Dole, or a Jim Baker . . . or a Colin Powell stood for, yeah they were conservative. They were concerned about limited government, and balancing budgets, and making sure we had a strong national defense.”
“But they also understood that our system of government requires compromise, that Democrats weren’t the enemy, that the way our government works requires us to listen to each other,” Obama continued. “And that’s not the kind of politics that we’ve seen practiced I think all too often.”
While it is questionable whether Trump is indeed concerned about shrinking the size of federal bureaucracy or reigning in the national debt given his policy proposals, President Obama went on to suggest that his plan for strengthening America’s security is also folly.
Specifically, Obama dismissed Trump’s threat to pull U.S. military support from NATO, saying that, “Anybody who’s been paying attention knows there’s a big difference between challenging our European allies to keep up their defense spending, particularly at a time when Russia’s been more aggressive, and saying to them, ‘You know what? We might not abide by the central tenet of the most important alliance in the history of the world.”
The president also addressed criticism from conservative foreign policy hawks about his reluctance to use the phrase “radical Islam”.
“In talking with Muslim allies, in talking to the Muslim American community here, it was being heard as if were ascribing to crazy groups like ISIL or Al Qaeda, the mantle of Islam,” he explained.
Finally, Obama spoke about his preferred White House successor and fellow Democrat, Hillary Clinton.
“You know, we don’t go vacationing together. I think I’ve got a pretty clear-eyed sense of both her strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “She’s not always flashy. And there are better speech makers. But she knows her stuff. And more than anything, that is what is ultimately required to do a good job in this — in this office.”
Hillary Clinton will need to lean on the current president to win the general election in November, as the Democratic nominee has a near record low favorable/unfavorable rating only second to Trump. President Obama, on the other hand, currently enjoys his highest presidential approval rating since April 2013, with nearly 50 percent of the public’s support.
[CBS News] [Time] [RealClear Politics]