Obama Plays Shrink to Europe: Dowd
President brings "psychological finesse" to the G20
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Apr 5, 2009 9:34 AM CDT
Barack Obama makes opening remarks at a town hall style meeting in Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2009. The event showed European leaders "that many of their constituents are also his," says Dowd.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Therapists could learn a thing or two from the "psychological finesse" Barack Obama showed in Europe this week, Maureen Dowd writes in the New York Times. Obama's upbringing taught him how to "slip in and out of different worlds," and that legacy was on display at the G20 conference as he turned the "the bluster and insecurities of other politicians" to his advantage.

Whether posing for a goofy photo with Silvio Berlusconi or praising Nicolas Sarkozy's courage, Obama acted like a good shrink, "flattering his subjects and sussing them out." After years of false certainty and bravado from the "Bush chuckleheads," Obama showed Europe that he's ready to listen. And while the US may have a had a weak hand going into the G20, now "that America can’t put everyone under its thumb, a thumbs-up and a killer smile can go a long way. "