President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev, recently reset U.S.-Russia relations by signing the strategic arms reduction treaty. Compare this to President Bush's own early-tenure rapprochement with Russia when, in summer 2001, he announced of President Vladimir Putin, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country."
Keep that bit of comparative history in mind as you watch Medvedev's just-released interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. The full video and transcript is here, but we wanted to pull out this bit:
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do you make of Barack Obama the man?
MEDVEDEV: He's very comfortable partner, it's very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people -- I won't name anyone by name -- he's a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)
MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don't want to offend anyone. He's eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply emerged in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he's talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn't well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he's simply a very pleasant man with whom it's a pleasure to deal with.