President Barack Obama was flayed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft over his policy in Syria.
One the most contentious moments of the interview came when Kroft said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “challenging” the United States’ “leadership.”
Obama’s reaction was stunning. He scowled and said, “In what way?”
Kroft rattled off the ways Putin is challenging Obama: He’s moved into Syria, and Russia is conducting military operations in the Middle East for the first time since World War II. Putin is bombing the rebels the US supports in Syria.
Obama’s response, beyond the scowl was:
So that’s leading, Steve? Let me ask you this question. When I came into office, Ukraine was governed by a corrupt ruler who was a stooge of Mr. Putin. Syria was Russia’s only ally in the region. And today, rather than being able to count on their support and maintain the base they had in Syria, which they have had for a long time, Mr. Putin now is devoting his own troops, his own military, just to barely hold together by a thread his sole ally. And in Ukraine–
Steve Kroft: He’s challenging your leadership, Mr. President. He’s challenging your leadership–
President Barack Obama: Well Steve, I got to tell you, if you think that running your economy into the ground and having to send troops in in order to prop up your only ally is leadership, then we’ve got a different definition of leadership. My definition of leadership would be leading on climate change, an international accord that potentially we’ll get in Paris. My definition of leadership is mobilizing the entire world community to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon. And with respect to the Middle East, we’ve got a 60-country coalition that isn’t suddenly lining up around Russia’s strategy. To the contrary, they are arguing that, in fact, that strategy will not work.
You can watch the Putin back and forth here:
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