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I really like Barack Obama. I think that he’s working very hard. He’s trying to rebuild our reputation throughout the world. The previous administration was a total disaster, a total catastrophe. He was handed a pretty bad deck of cards. And I’m not saying I agree with everything he’s doing. He’s a champion. I mean, he won against all odds. When he first announced, people were giving him virtually no chance. And he’s just done something that’s amazing.
We protested when the Israeli Defense Forces killed more than 2,000 Palestinians in 50 days. Yet Obama replied with words about the difficult plight of police officers … and the additional $225m in financial support of the Israeli army. Obama said not a mumbling word about the dead Palestinian children but he did call Baltimore black youth ‘criminals and thugs’.
Like a lot of people, I had this naive hope that Barack Obama would fix everything quickly. You know, the culture of celebrity in this country leads us away from democratic ways of thinking and into this hero worship.
And so of course, one man cannot swoop in and fix everything on his own. It’s much more complicated and difficult than that, and progressives in this country since then have had to come to terms with the fact that we need to do more than actually get out of our house and vote. It’s an ongoing process to turn the tide.
What may worry [Donald] Trump, the latest Gallup poll. It shows just 44 percent of Americans approve of how he’s handling the transition, almost 40 points below President [Barack] Obama was before his first inauguration. Even George W. Bush after that bitterly contested 2000 election was at 61 percent.
There’s 6 million people living in poverty today, more than when Barack Obama got elected. 6.5 million people are working part-time, most of whom want to work full-time. We’ve created rules and taxes on top of every aspiration of people, and the net result is we’re not growing fast, income is not growing.
A couple of years ago, my wife, Erica, and I were getting our daughter ready for school and an image of President [Barack] Obama was on one of the morning shows. And I said, oh, look, Carina, there’s the president. You can be president one day. And she said, right away, that’s for boys. And so right away I said, oh, no, you can be a doctor. You can be a lawyer. You can be anything you want. You can be president.
I think the president’s [Barack Obama] position has been very clear on Syria. He wants more aggressive, he’s put the Special Ops on the ground, in fact one of the Republican criticisms is he’s got thousands of Americans there. We just don’t call them troops on the ground, we don’t admit to it. But they are there.
Barack Obama was elected President in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. The natural thing would be to suggest money on the right [wing] doesn’t really matter that much. The first thing you have to know is that the presidential elections are the ones where it’s most difficult for money to hold sway, in that they’re the most public elections.
I can’t imagine that I would be asked that by the president-elect [Donald Trump], or then-president [Barack Obama]. But it’s – I’m very clear. I voted for the change that put the Army Field Manual in place as a member of Congress. I understand that law very, very quickly and am also deeply aware that any changes to that will come through Congress and the president.