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Stephanopoulos quoted Obama from his own memoir being critical of former President George W. Bush and asked if Obama was failing by his own standard. According to Obama, winning public opinion doesn’t have to be done “at every minute.”
Partial transcript as follows:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you final question under foreign policy. It comes from something you wrote back in 2006 in “The Audacity of Hope.” You were talking about President [George W.] Bush’s foreign policy strategy, you said, “Without a well-articulated strategy that the public supports and the world understands, America will lack legitimacy and ultimately the power it needs to make the world safer than it is today.”
The majority of Americans don’t support your path on foreign policy. Are you failing by your own standard?
OBAMA: You know, George -- I know we go back to the polls. But let me just say throughout the first half of my presidency, the polls consistently showed strong support for my foreign policy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the public has to support it, doesn’t it?
OBAMA: But not at every minute, George. Not every week because there’s going to be times where the world is messy. One of the things you also realize during the course of five years is, if the problems were easy, somebody else would have solved them already. And one of the great challenges of this job, but one of the great privileges of this job is that you know, you’re tackling stuff that is really tough, and I’m glad that after five years I’m still here able to do it.
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