Foreign Leaders Fawn Over Obama

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Though President Obama's approval ratings have hit an all-time low at 47 percent, he has retained the support of one important demographic: foreign presidents. In separate interviews released this week, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy effusively praised Obama, lauding his openness to international dialogue and his affable manner.

In praising Obama, both presidents also took veiled shots at President Bush, whose relations with international leaders were far more contentious. Though Medvedev declined to "name anyone by name" and Sarkozy mentioned Bush only once, both presidents made it abundantly clear which American president they preferred. (See Wire coverage of Medvedev's shot at Bush here.)

Medvedev talks with ABC's George Stephanopoulos about speaking with Obama:

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.

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Sarkozy, to CBS' Katie Couric, on Obama's nuclear position (at 3:40):
COURIC: The U.S. and Russia signed a treaty as you well know last week to decrease their number of nuclear stockpiles, and the U.S. announced a new policy on how and when atomic weapons should be used. Some are concerned that this will weaken the United States. Do you believe the goal of the nuclear free world is realistic?
SARKOZY: Well, President Obama a year ago in his Prague speech said that he aspired to, he dreamt of a nuclear free world, as we all do, together with him. But here, so, consider the nuclear weapons for those who have them should be handled in a reasonable, cautious manner. And he laid down a new strategy for the-- use of nuclear weapons. President Bush had lowered the conditions, under which the United States could resort to using their nuclear weapons, but President Obama, has raised that level, and specified that is only very specific instances of legitimate self-defense and the defense of American interests or the-- interests of its close allies.
Sarkozy on dining with the Obamas (at 24:00):
COURIC: Have you and President Obama commiserated about your standing--your respective standing in the polls?
SARKOZY: I might disappoint here, but, you know, when we meet, we don't really talk about that. We talk about the difficult choices we have to make when we dine together at the White House, together with Michelle Obama and Carla. It was very friendly, it was very warm, it was very interesting. It was a very free-ranging discussion we had. The--Obamas are people that are easy to talk to.

Easy to understand. We talk, we compare our difficulties, but look, it's not easy to be head of state. If it were easy, we'd know about it. But at a time of crisis, a crisis unparalleled since 19-- the 1929, 1930 slump. But yes, it's nice, it's reassuring to talk with people who face the same difficulties to see how they're reacting, what they're deciding to do. It was the moment which remain--very fond memory, both for me and for Carla, the--time we spent in the private quarters in the White House.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.