Obama’s N.H. Swing: The Clinton ‘Brand,’ Human Rights, Growing Up in a Muslim Country

Here he was interrupted with applause.

“And she said you know that’s naïve, they might use you for propaganda purposes,” he said. “I am not worried about losing a propaganda battle with a bunch of dictators.”

At the end of the speech, Obama listed the reasons he was running. After talking about getting around the Clinton name brand by concentrating on the early states, he said the biggest question was should he run. He decided he should, partly because, as he put it, “The day I’m inaugurated, not only does America look at itself different. But the world looks at America,” he said.

His explanation of why the world would look at America differently goes back, again, to the fight he and Clinton are having about what the appropriate level of experience of the job is. (She mocks his qualification of living abroad as a child; he mocks hers of having lived in the White House as first lady.)

On Sunday, Obama made his argument like this:

“I think the next president has to engage in a level of personal diplomacy around the world to repair the damage that has been done. And when I travel around the world, and I go to a poor country, those leaders will know, that Obama has got a grandmother who lives in a small country, in a small village in Africa, without electricity and without running water. He knows what our people are going through, he has seen it first hand. He hasn’t just read it in a book. He understands it. If I go to talk to Muslim leaders, they say, well, he may be Christian but he’s lived in a Muslim country for several years. He understands our culture and is respectful. And that means that I can them challenge them but also find the common ground in ways that I don’t think any other candidate can do as effectively.”

“And that will make us safer because I’ll have more credibility on the world stage,” he concluded. “Those are the reasons I am running.”