Microphone Picks Up Private Conversation Between Obama and British Leader on Need for Vacations and ‘Thinking’ Time

By Jennifer Parker

Jul 26, 2008 8:40am

At British Parliament today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, met with Tory Leader David Cameron.

Seemingly unaware of an enormous fuzzy boom mike held by ABC News’ Eric Kerchner, the two chatted casually — and privately.

"You should be on the beach," Cameron told Obama. "You need a break. Well, you need to be able to keep your head together."

"You’ve got to refresh yourself," agreed Obama.

"Do you have a break at all?" asked Cameron.

"I have not," said Obama. "I am going to take a week in August. But I
agree with you that somebody, somebody who had worked in the White
House who — not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to
the process –  said that, should we be successful, that actually the
most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time
during the day when all you’re doing is thinking. And the biggest
mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have
to be — "

"These guys just chalk your diary up," said Cameron, referring to a packed schedule.

"Right," Obama said. "In 15 minute increments …"

"We call it the dentist’s waiting room," Cameron said. "You have to scrap that because you’ve got to have time."

"And, well, and you start making mistakes," Obama said, "or you lose
the big picture. Or you lose a sense of, I think you lose a feel– "

"Your feeling," interrupted Cameron. "And that is exactly what politics is all about. The judgment you bring to make decisions."

"That’s exactly right," Obama said. "And the truth is that we’ve got a
bunch of smart people, I think, who know ten times more than we do
about the specifics of the topics. And so if what you’re trying to do
is micromanage and solve everything then you end up being a dilettante
but you have to have enough knowledge to make good judgments about the
choices that are presented to you."

– Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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