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Newsweek's Evan Thomas: Obama Is a 'Brave,' 'Great Teacher'

Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas appeared this weekend's edition of Inside Washington and lauded President Obama as a "brave," "great teacher" who "stands above everybody." These comments were only slightly less hyperbolic than a gushing assertion on Friday's Hardball. On that program, the journalist cooed, "I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above - above the world, he's sort of God."

Moderator Gordon Peterson prompted Thomas to expound on Obama after asking him and other panelists for their critiques of Obama's speech last week in Cairo, Egypt. Thomas extolled, "We're understanding what Obama is. He is the great teacher. He is this guy that stands above everybody." He did allow that "there's some condescension" in this attitude. However, the Newsweek editor continued, "But, he stands above everybody and says, 'Now, listen. You people have to stop blaming each other unreasonably. You have to get along here and I am going to show you the way.'

Referring to Obama's promotion of a peace plan in the Middle East, he concluded, "It is a pretty brave role, in many ways." Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who also appeared on the show, dissented. Speaking of Obama's remarks on Iran, he derided, "What he said about Iran, it was the weakest statement on Iran's nuclear program ever given by a president, weaker than anything heard in the last seven or eight years." He added that the President "did more in three minutes to delegitimize the existence of Israel than any president in American history."

The program Inside Washington is produced and shown locally in the D.C. region on WJLA, an ABC affiliate. It is first broadcast Friday evenings on the local PBS affiliate.

A transcript of the exchanges, which occurred at 9:04am on June 6, follows:

GORDON PETERSON: James Zogby, the President of the Arab American Institute told Politico that the President was not only talking to the world's one and a half billion Muslims, but also to us, to Americans, about what we need to know about Islam and our relationships to many parts of the Muslim world. But former U.N. ambassador John Bolton says the speech was another "blame America first moment."

...

PETERSON: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The speech will be remembered for two things. What he said about Iran and what he said about the Arab-Israeli dispute. What he said about Iran, it was the weakest statement on Iran's nuclear program ever given by a president, weaker than anything heard in the last seven or eight years. It was a victory for the Iranian radicals who have been proven that you can divide the west and the United States and treat it with kid gloves. The other notable aspect is the he did more in three minutes to delegitimize the existence of Israel than any president in American history.

...

PETERSON: Evan?

EVAN THOMAS: Obama- We're understanding what Obama is. He is the great teacher. He is this guy that stands above everybody. There's some condescension in it. But, he stands above everybody and says, 'Now, listen. You people have to stop blaming each other unreasonably. You have to get along here and I am going to show you the way.' It is a pretty brave role in many ways. It's going to make people like Charles really mad. To me, the question is, is it just rhetoric, or is he now going to follow up and forced some of this happen?

-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center.