President Barack Obama said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has a “tough guy” schtick he uses to appeal to his native countrymen while on the world’s stage.
In an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas, Obama said that he would not call his relationship with Putin “icy” and noted that Putin has “always treated me with the utmost respect” and there was a lot of humor between them during meetings.
“I think he recognizes the importance to Russia of working with the United States on areas of mutual concern. He does have a public style where he likes to sit back and look a little bored during the course of joint interviews,” he said. “I think that’s where some of these perceptions come up. My sense is that’s part of his shtick back home politically as wanting to look like the tough guy.”
Obama said that “U.S. politicians have a different style. We tend to smile once in a while. The truth is, with any interaction between U.S. and Russian presidents, what’s going to be primary are the issues at stake, and where we have common interests we are going to work together.”