Major asked President Obama about why he cannot say the Cold War was won...
I think you just cut out Lech Waleza and Poles, cut out Havel and the Czechs. There were a whole bunch of people in eastern europe who showed courage. Important to acknowledge people who struggled for own freedom. Lift the Iron curtain. we don't have to diminish other people in order to recognize our role.
He also asked about the President's impressions of Russian President Medvedev...
President Medvedev is my counterpart. The Prime Minister, who I just met today still has enormous influence. Nothing Putin said contradicted what Medvedev said. Russia is still in a transition period. Coming out of legacies of past. Recognition of that rule of law. Russia cannot simply rely on oil and gas imports in perpetuity. There are still going to be areas where there is strong disagreement. I'm meeting with opposition leaders later this afternoon. Medvedev is recognizing the more that Russia reflects transparency, the better off Russia will be.
And Major also asked how the meeting with Putin went earlier today?
He would admit, his formative years were shaped in the cold war. Grievances with respect to the west are dated in suspicions that came out of that period. He would like to see US-Russian relations improve. Found him tough, smart shrewd. On areas where we disagree like Georgia, I don't see a meeting of the minds. On terrorism, great potential to work together.
And Major also asked him about the possibility of a second economic stimulus...
If you look at how this economic tsunami has unfolded you realize that we could have spent money any faster. Tax cuts, they're going out about as fast as you can go. You've got a lot of money going to states,to prevent firing of teachers, firefighters. You can't push out infrastructure money that quickly. My sense is, we are going to see those projects in the second half of the year.
And President Obama said he won't take anything off the table when it comes to another stimulus..
I don't take anything off the table when unemployment is close to 10% and people are hurting. No matter how big the stimulus was, we still have challenges. Some critics say we shouldn't have had a stimulus at all, but they had no recipe to fix the situation. Thequestion I have to wrestle with now, is how to get economy on a growth track.
On Russia and the Missile Defense program..Obama said,
Everything that we're doing, is being scrubbed. It's true the US and Russia have different negotiations. We're still seeing ranges, 1500-1675 on warheads, 500-1100 on launchers. We're going to work through in great detail, even as we're lowering number of warheads and launchers, doesn't disadvantage one country or another. Missile defense: potential for collaboration. Make determination on our own national security. Look at Poland and Czech Republic to see if that's the most effective way to block a threat from Iran. If we got Russia involved our position would be stronger. We would need if able to pressure Iran into a peaceful resolving of the nuclear issue. The more that Russia, as well as rest of Europe is invested in process, stronger hand we can play.
Major's final question was about social justice - and if it is best achieved through the state, the individual or a religion. And President Obama gave us a little preview of what he might be talking about with Pope Benedict..
I will talk about this with Pope. There's a strong tradition of social justice in Catholic church. I've spoken in past of admiration for Cardinal Bernadine. The holy Father has consistently spoken out about issues. It's sort of an abstract question. Social Justice derives from individuals having the freedom to pursue their own opportunities. Opportunities are provided to individuals, but government plays an important role. If you have a state that is so oppressive, people can't exercise their skills, you could see a failed economy. If a state is not protecting property rights, because a court system doesn't work, its not providing social justice either. Abraham Lincoln described it best. He said, I think anything an individual can do well by him or herself he should do. Those things we do better collectively we should do together. Mutual defense, making sure kids have decent education.
And finally, the President said the girls, Sasha and Malia are having a great time at "Camp Obama"
They have fun everywhere they go, I have to figure out their secret! Being 11 and 7 helps.