President Obama explained to a group of young Asian leaders today that it was important not to betray one’s principles while being a leader.
He pointed out that one of his core principles is to “treat everyone fairly” regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.
“One of my core principles is that I will never engage in a politics in which I’m trying to divide people or make them less than me because they look different or have a different religion,” Obama said. “That’s a core principle, that’s not something I would violate.”
Obama admitted that it was important to stay true to one’s principles, allowing people to sense their “integrity.”
“Unfortunately, too many politicians, they’re just climbing the ladder but they don’t know why, and when they get there then they’re not very effective leaders,” he explained.
Such politicians, Obama explained, were subject to the temptations of corruption and willing to give up anything to stay in power.
“That’s when you lose your way, right?” Obama said. “You have to be willing to lose something for your principles, you have to be willing to lose an election.”