Politics & Government

Obama defends foreign, domestic policy

President Barack Obama says he’s neither a foreign policy idealist or a realist, in a pair of interviews his White House has granted to on-line media.

In the interview with the nascent Vox, Obama says foreign policy has long divided along the lines of idealists -- “like Woodrow Wilson, and you're out there with the League of Nations and imagining everybody holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya‘ “ or realists, who cut deals and support dictators, “solely pursuing the self-interest of our country as narrowly defined.

“And I just don't think that describes what a smart foreign policy should be,” Obama said in the long-ranging interview, in which he also agrees with the reporter that the news media overhypes terrorist attacks, compared to other threats like climate change and disease.

“It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you've got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris,” Obama said. “We devote enormous resources to that, and it is right and appropriate for us to be vigilant and aggressive in trying to deal with that -- the same way a big city mayor's got to cut the crime rate down if he wants that city to thrive.”

But, he added, “we also have to attend to a lot of other issues, and we've got to make sure we're right-sizing our approach so that what we do isn't counterproductive.”

In a domestic policy interview with Vox, Obama talks about Ferguson and says the U.S. economy has recovered to the point where lawmakers and others can focus on the growing disparities between the ultra-rich and the middle class.

Obama is also scheduled to sit down with BuzzFeed on Tuesday -- and the site is asking its viewers to send along their “toughest questions.”