In a 30-minute interview with Newsweek this past week, President Obama answers a wide array of questions dealing with the challenges he’s had to confront in office. The president points to his decision to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the hardest thing he’s had to do so far. Obama also argues that Americans appreciate a president who is willing to candidly discuss difficult and complex problems:
But one of the things I’ve actually been encouraged by—and I learned during the campaign—was the American people, I think, not only have a toleration but also a hunger for explanation and complexity, and a willingness to acknowledge hard problems. I think one of the biggest mistakes that is made in Washington is this notion you have to dumb things down for the public.
Also during the interview, Obama defended his efforts to reach out to Iran. “I think that there is the ability of an Islamic Republic of Iran to maintain its Islamic character while, at the same time, being a member in good standing of the international community and not a threat to its neighbors. … If it doesn’t work, the fact that we have tried will strengthen our position in mobilizing the international community, and Iran will have isolated itself, as opposed to a perception that it seeks to advance that somehow it’s being victimized by a U.S. government that doesn’t respect Iran’s sovereignty.”