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Latest State Department talking point: Obama needs to brag more

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By Doug Powers  •  May 30, 2014 09:58 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

There has obviously been a memo circulated at the State Department instructing anybody who goes in front of a camera to highlight the downside of President Obama refusing to come out of his humility shell.

Here’s John Kerry in an interview yesterday:

GWEN IFILL: Mr. Secretary, the president said in an interview this morning with NPR that, you know, this – you’ve just got to take the balls as they come across the plate. There were a lot of baseball and sports metaphors about blocking and tackling foreign policy to try to get to the next place. Does the president get a bad rap, in your opinion, for being weak or not taking the long homer runs instead of the base hits?

JOHN KERRY: I don’t think the president, frankly, takes enough credit for the successes that are on the table right now.

I mean, if you look at what has happened in Ukraine, the president led an effort to try to keep Europe unified with the United States, to put difficult sanctions on the table. Europe wasn’t thrilled with that but they came along. That was leadership. And the president succeeded in having an impact ultimately, together with the Europeans, on the choices that face President Putin.

In Syria the president, you know, obviously made his decision to strike Syria, and appropriately sent that decision to Congress. Congress didn’t want to move, but we came up with another solution, which was get all of those chemical weapons out rather than just have one or two days of strike. The president has now succeeded in getting 92 percent of those weapons out of Syria. There’s one last transfer that has to take place to get to a hundred percent. I believe it will take place.

In addition, the president has engaged with Iran. We were on a course to absolute collision where they were building a nuclear system and the world was standing opposed to that. But the president put in place a series of sanctions, a capacity to be able to bring Iran to the table. We are now in the middle of negotiations. Everyone will agree the sanctions regime has held together. The weapon – the nuclear program has been frozen and rolled backwards. And we now have expanded the amount of time that Iran might have for a breakout. That’s a success.

So I think we are as engaged, more engaged than in any time in American history, and I think that case is there to be fully proven and laid out. And I think –

In other words, people would know how much better off the world is under Obama’s leadership (“sanctions we can believe in”) if only he’d point that out more often. Sounds logical enough — for this administration.

That same day, in a total coincidence, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said this while speaking with reporters:

“I would argue the president doesn’t give himself enough credit for what he’s done around the world, and that’s how the secretary feels too. We would not be engaged in comprehensive negotiations with Iran, which is where the program is stalled and is rolling back, if it were not for the role of the United States, along with the P-5 plus one partners, certainly. Ukraine, we’ve been engaged more or as much as any other country in the world in supporting the elections process and supporting the government and supporting their efforts moving forward. Yes, there’s more work that needs to be done. The point is, we need to continue to stay at it.”

The reporters laughed at her because she was so right.

Kerry and Psaki understand that Obama has struggled with lowered expectations since before he took office:

But the presidency has indeed made Obama more humble, and we know this because he bragged about that fact not long ago:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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