Obama Speaks Softly, Carries ... You Know the Rest
President trades macho for cool
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Apr 8, 2009 9:00 AM CDT
President Barack Obama pauses during his town hall meeting at Tophane Cultural Center in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, April 7, 2009.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – President Obama didn't swagger through his European road trip, but that doesn't mean he isn't ready to play hardball. "If George W. Bush was a cowboy, Obama is a group hug," writes Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post. The contrast between Obama, who's still establishing his presidential persona, and his predecessor couldn't be starker: "You can bring 'em on. Or you can calm 'em down."

Obama has already passed one test, in Parker's view, settling for condemnation of North Korea even though a majority of Americans say they want military action. Kim Jong Il was transparently bidding for attention, and "what he got from Obama was what the Chihuahua gets when the Great Dane shows up." Don't mistake coolness for weakness, Parker warns. "Playground wisdom holds that showoffs are usually overcompensating, and the strongest one has nothing to prove."