President Obama: ‘Less concerned about style points’

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at Sep 15, 2013 4.24
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By BYRON TAU | 9/15/13 9:01 AM EDT Updated: 9/15/13 6:58 PM EDT
President Barack Obama pushed back on Sunday against the notion that his administration had bungled the response to the Syrian crisis.

In a taped interview that aired a day after his administration hammered out a draft agreement with Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he is more worried about the substance of that agreement than the political optics.

“I’m less concerned about style points, I’m much more concerned about getting the policy right,” Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “What I’ve said consistently throughout is that — the chemical weapons issue is a problem. I want that problem dealt with.” Obama — who initially called for punitive military action against against Syria before a workable diplomatic plan emerged last week — said that a bad policy could have a smooth rollout and vice versa.

“Folks here in Washington like to grade on style,” Obama said. “Had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy.”

“We know that, ’cause that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq War until it ended up blowing [up] in our face,” Obama said.

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