Ignore The Freakout: Here’s What Obama Really Said About ‘America Winning’

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November 16, 2015 4:29 p.m.

President Obama used part of his press conference Monday at the G20 summit in Turkey to lay waste to empty slogans that some politicians develop instead of creating real plans to defeat terrorist groups.

“What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning’ or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people,” Obama said as part of an extended response to a reporter’s question.

The answer included an anecdote about visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit wounded veterans, an example what happens when “tough” posturing meet reality.

Almost immediately, however, Republican politicians and conservative pundits took a truncated version of the quote to say that the President had just declared he was “not interested” in “America winning.”

Here’s what Obama really said about ‘America winning’

What I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow in the abstract make America look tough. Or make me look tough.

And maybe part of the reason is because every few months I go to Walter Reed and I see a 25 year old kid who is paralyzed or who has lost his limbs and some of those are people I’ve ordered into battle.

And so I can’t afford to play some of the political games that others may. We’ll do what’s required to keep the American people safe. And I think it’s entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan. If they think that somehow their advisers are better than the chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the folks who are actually on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate.

But what I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership, or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with, that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people. And to protect people in the region who are getting killed. And to protect our allies in people like France. I’m too busy for that.

How Republicans and conservatives reacted on Twitter

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How conservative news sites portrayed the quote

Breitbart used all capital letters.

So did Instapundit:

The Federalist:

The Patriot Post:

Here’s how The Washington Times characterized the news conference:

President Obama showed a flash of anger Monday with Republican critics of his anti-terrorism strategy, saying he is ‘too busy’ to engage in a rhetorical debate with them.

And finally, here’s video of Obama’s ‘America winning’ quote

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