Obama: President Is Responsible for USA -- And '20 Other Countries That Are Having Big Problems'

By Susan Jones | February 17, 2016 | 7:44am EST
President Barack Obama gestures answers questions during a news conference following the conclusion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders summit at the Annenberg Retreat in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - "I have a lot of faith in the American people, and I think they realize that being president is a serious job," President Obama told a news conference on Tuesday.

Obama said presidential responsibilities go beyond U.S. borders: The president "is often responsible for not just the United States of America, but 20 other countries that are having big problems, or are falling apart and are going to be looking for us to do something."

Obama explained his expansive view of the American presidency while speaking to reporters in California at the end of a summit with Southeast Asian leaders.

In response to a question about the campaign to succeed him, he expressed concern about Republican "rhetoric."

"They are all denying climate change," Obama said. "I think that's troubling to the international community, since the science is unequivocal. And -- you know, the other countries around the world -- they kind of count on the United States being on the side of science and reason and common sense, because they know that, if the United States does not act on big problems in smart ways, nobody will."

Obama then explained why being president is so "hard."

"It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. It's not promotion. It's not marketing. It's hard, and a lot of people count on us getting it right.

"And it's not a matter of pandering and -- and doing whatever will get you in the news on a given day. And sometimes it requires you making hard decisions, even when people don't like it, and doing things that are unpopular, and standing up for people who are vulnerable but don't have some powerful constituency.

"And it requires being able to work with leaders around the world in a way that reflects the importance of the office and gives people confidence that you know the facts, and you know their names, and you know where they are on a map, and you know something about their history, and you're not just going to play to the crowd back home, because they have their own crowds back home, and you're trying to solve problems.

"And so, yeah, during primaries, people vent, and they express themselves, and it seems like entertainment, and often times it's reported just like entertainment. But, as you get closer, reality has a way of intruding.

"And these are the folks who -- who I have faith in (the American people), because they, ultimately, are going to say, whoever's standing where I'm standing right now has the nuclear codes with them, and can order 21-year-olds into a firefight, and have to make sure that the banking system doesn't collapse, and is often responsible for not just the United States of America, but 20 other countries that are having big problems, or are falling apart and are going to be looking for us to do something.

"And the American people are pretty sensible, and I think they'll make a sensible choice in the end."

Earlier in the news conference, a reporter asked Obama about his side trip to the TPC Stadium Golf course: "What did you shoot?" the reporter asked.

"The last, for non-golfers, is a reference to PGA West," Obama said. "Very nice course. Very difficult. My score is classified."

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