WASHINGTON — After being embarrassed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama said that Putin is not a tough guy after all.
Reuters reported Obama told NBC’s Bob Costas that Putin tries to look tough, but that is “a public style” and demeanor.
Obama said, regarding the relationship between him and Putin, “I wouldn’t call it icy.” He went on to say that Putin has “a public style where he likes to sit back and look a little bored during the course of joint interviews. My sense is that’s part of his shtick back home politically as wanting to look like the tough guy.”
Obama contrasted Putin’s public style with his own, saying “U.S. politicians have a different style. We tend to smile once in a while.”
The interview comes as the Winter Olympics are taking place in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia, and after a series of public embarrassments for Obama in dealing with Russia. Russia granted asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked confidential and secret government documents to the British newspaper The Guardian. The former Soviet Union also agreed to handle the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons, which some say was a policy debacle for Obama.