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April 20th, 2009
09:30 PM ET

President Obama - weak or strong?

Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

Some political opponents have said President Obama looked weak, talking and smiling with Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chavez, and before that offering to talk with Cuba, Iran and Syria. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a potential presidential candidate in 2012, says former President Jimmy Carter sent similar signals, and antagonists to the US "got tougher (because) when they sense weakness, they all start pushing ahead."

David Axelrod, special advisor to the President, shot back that critics "misinterpreted what happened... the real message of what happened this past weekend with the Cuban regime's response to the president's decision on remittances, or the overtures from President Chavez, I think, what has happened is that anti-Americanism isn't cool anymore."

Is it weak or strong to say you'll talk with potential enemies, rather than ignore or try to punish them? In any case, President Obama seems to be saying, essentially - we're ready to talk, whether you are or not. Perhaps President Obama s calling some bluffs. At minimum, the President made clear over the weekend that he is seeking a global game changer.

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