Chuck Todd: I'm Surprised at the 'Extremely Defensive' Tone Obama Took on Islamic State Questions

November 16, 2015

NBC's Chuck Todd said he was struck Monday by the "extremely defensive" tone President Obama took at a press conference where he fielded multiple questions about his strategy for the Islamic State.

Obama was frustrated as reporters at the G-20 summit in Turkey repeatedly asked him about his earlier underestimation of the Islamic State and his strategy to fight the organization. The terror organization has taken responsibility for last Friday's attacks in Paris, France that left at least 129 people dead. Obama, however, said Monday that his administration had the "right strategy" and would be seeing it through.

"I was struck at how defensive he was, how much he's paying attention to his political critics," Todd said. "He answered about six or seven specific charges or ideas that various critics of him, presidential candidate critics or otherwise, have made, and he used them as straw men. I was surprised by his tone. I was surprised by the defensiveness."

Todd said Obama didn't "channel" the feelings of anger and resiliency a lot of Americans are feeling in the wake of the latest outrage from IS.

"Again, I go back to the tone of this press conference," Todd said. "Extremely defensive, and almost not yet realizing that many of the reporters in that room, they're channeling the public in this case."

Todd told NBC host Lester Holt, who was broadcasting from Paris, that the fury felt by French citizens was similar to public sentiment in the U.S., and he felt it was strange that Obama instead seemed to bristle most when challenged about his policies.

"That's the part of this that just struck me as, frankly, an odd decision," Todd said. "Not odd that he's sticking to his policy. Odd in the tone he chose to use today."