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Obama Slams Trump NATO Comments        07/24 11:04

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says GOP nominee Donald Trump's 
recent suggestion that the U.S. might not come to the defense of NATO allies is 
another sign of Trump's "lack of preparedness" on foreign policy.

   Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that 
Trump's comments to the New York Times --- in which Trump suggested allies that 
haven't paid their NATO dues wouldn't be guaranteed of getting help if Russia 
invaded --- were an admission that the U.S. might not live by NATO's "most 
central tenet."

   Obama, speaking before the Democratic National Convention begins Monday, 
said Trump's comments on NATO last week were "an indication of the lack of 
preparedness that he has been displaying when it comes to foreign policy."

   NATO members promise that an attack against any of them is considered an 
assault against all.

   Trump told the Times that he wouldn't predict the U.S. response in the case 
of a Russian attack of smaller NATO allies like Estonia or Latvia. "If they 
fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is 'yes,'" Trump said.

   Obama responded: "There is a big difference between challenging our European 
allies to keep up their defense spending, particularly at a time when Russia's 
been more aggressive, and saying to them, 'You know what? We might not abide by 
the central tenant of the most important alliance in the history of the world.'"

   In contrast, Obama said that presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, 
who served as secretary of State in his first term, is supremely capable of 
taking over the reins of power in January. He said he believes there has never 
been candidate better prepared for the presidency.

   "She's not always flashy. And there are better speech makers. But she knows 
her stuff," Obama said.

   Obama address an array of issues during the interview, including:

   ---race relations. He said additional scrutiny or suspicion of 
African-American males is "just a common experience that many of us share. But 
I will tell you that it's a lot better now than it was. And that doesn't mean 
that we can be complacent about it."

   ---on why he used the term "radical Islam" as a candidate in 2008 but not as 
president. Obama said Muslim allies voiced concerns that the phrase could give 
the impression that "crazy groups" such as the Islamic State group or al-Qaida 
were carrying the mantle of Islam. He said defeating militants will require 
help from more than 1 billion Muslims in the word.

   ---whether most Americans feel safe. Obama said it's been "a really tough 
month," but that people in the U.S., he believes, "are significantly more safe 
now than they were before all the work that we've done since 9/11."

   Asked what it takes to be an effective president, Obama cited the ability to 
build a team of talented, hardworking people and "make sure they are all moving 
in the same direction." Another factor, he said, was "personal discipline in 
terms of doing your homework, and knowing your subject matter, and being able 
to stay focused."

   And to make all this work "you have to really care about the American 
people... not in the abstract," Obama said, noting that is crucial because that 
will help ground the president in that difficult job and prevent them from 
being overly influenced by polls, pressure and difficult developments.

   If you don't have that sense of grounding, "you will be buffeted and blown 
back and forth by polls and interest groups and voices whispering in your 
head," he said. "And you will lose your center of gravity. You will lose your 
moral compass."


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