Russian President Dmitry Medvedev thinks before he speaks, but he wouldn't say the same about, well ... somebody.
During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "Good Morning America," Medvedev said through a translator that Obama was "a thinker," which "distinguishes him from many people." Pressed for details, he demurred. "Obviously I do have someone on my mind. I don't want to offend anyone."
The diplomatic answer was an amusing one to Stephanopoulos, who laughed so hard that Medvedev couldn't hold a straight face.
Medvedev became deputy prime minister of Russia in 2005 and president in 2008, all while George W. Bush was President of the United States. After one of their meetings, Bush called Medvedev a "smart guy." But Bush generated some discussion after meeting with Medvedev's predecessor, Vladimir Putin, and telling reporters that he "looked the man in the eye" and "was able to get a sense of his soul."
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 emerged 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.
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