Medvedev appreciates a ‘thinker’ in the Oval Office

MEDVEDEV APPRECIATES A ‘THINKER’ IN THE OVAL OFFICE…. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos interviewed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in St. Petersburg on Friday, the day after he joined President Obama in Prague to sign a new nuclear arms treaty. The interview, portions of which were aired this morning on “Good Morning America,” prompted some interesting exchanges. (Stephanopoulos did not ask Medvedev to respond to any Sarah Palin quotes.)

The transcript is well worth reading, but with an eye towards U.S. politics, these remarks stood out. (video via ThinkProgress)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve now met with President Obama many times. At least 15 meetings and phone calls.

MEDVEDEV: Sixteen times.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sixteen. Okay, I knew it was 15. I wasn’t sure about the 16. What do you make of Barack Obama the man?

MEDVEDEV: He’s very comfortable partner, it’s very interesting to be with him. The most important thing that distinguishes him from many other people — I won’t name anyone by name — he’s a thinker, he thinks when he speaks. Which is already pretty good.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had somebody in your mind, I think. (LAUGHS)

MEDVEDEV: Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don’t want to offend anyone. He’s eager to listen to his partner, which is a pretty good quality for a politician. Because any politician is to a certain degree a mentor. They preach something. And the ability to listen to their partner is very important for the politician. And he is pretty deeply immersed in the subject, so he has a good knowledge of what he’s talking about. There was no instance in our meetings with Mr. Obama where he wasn’t well prepared for the questions. This is very good. And after all, he’s simply a very pleasant man with whom it’s a pleasure to deal with.

It’s easy to forget sometimes, but it is awfully heartening to again have a U.S. leader who commands respect on the international stage.