Obama: A President's Behavior Is Key in 'Ability to Lead' Country

It's about 'shaping attitudes, shaping culture, increasing awareness'

Barack Obama
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January 12, 2018

Former President Barack Obama gave some advice to those who hold the office of the president: the ability to lead the country depends on one's behavior, because everyone is watching.

Obama's comments came in an interview that was recorded last fall but released Friday as the first episode of TV personality David Letterman’s new Netflix show "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction," Politico reported.  

"One of the things that Michelle figured out, in some ways faster than I did — was part of your ability to lead the country doesn’t have to do with legislation, doesn’t have to do with regulations, it has to do with shaping attitudes, shaping culture, increasing awareness," Obama said during the discussion.

The hour long interview was a friendly interaction throughout, and while it contained plenty of thinly veiled references to President Donald Trump, the former president avoided making any direct comment on Trump, Politico noted.

The interview took place on stage at the Amsterdam campus of City College in New York, and most of the conversation reflected on memories of Obama's two terms as president.

"When you become president and you’re in the Oval Office, you feel, ‘OK, now I have to act presidential.’ And we lost track of what had gotten us there, and that was our ability to tell stories and relate to people," Obama reminisced.

Throughout the interview, Letterman told Obama how much he admired the man and wished he was still the president.