Obama Explains Putin’s ‘Shtick’

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February 6, 2014 6:55 p.m.

President Obama on Thursday rebutted the general perception that he has an “icy” relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He does have a public style where he likes to sit back and look a little bored during the course of joint interviews. I think that’s where some of these perceptions come up,” Obama told NBC News in an interview airing Friday. “My sense is that’s part of his shtick back home politically as wanting to look like the tough guy. U.S. politicians have a different style. We tend to smile once in a while.”

Obama says the two actually have a pretty good time together.

“The truth of the matter is that when we are in meetings there are a lot of exchanges, there’s a surprising amount of humor, and a lot of give and take,” he said. “He’s always treated me with the utmost respect.”

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