Calling the President’s eight-day sojourn to Europe "enormously productive," David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama, joked about the high expectations for the trip
Saying that the "premise" of a reporters’ question about the success and failures of the president’s first international trip "was: ‘Why didn’t the waters part, the sun shine, and all the ills of the world disappear because President Obama came to Europe this week?’" Axelrod said, "that wasn’t our expectation."
"That will take at least a few weeks," he joked.
Axelrod said that accomplishments included security the commitment of G-20 nations for greater regulation of financial institutions, support among NATO nations for the President’s Afghanistan strategy, and a number of stronger relationships.
Is the president leaving this trip with a greater sense of self-confidence? Axelrod was asked.
"I’ve never felt that was a problem," Axelrod said dryly.
Utilizing an agricultural metaphor about what the president "harvested," offered by a different reporter, Axelrod said, "you don’t you don’t leave with a bounty in the first instance. I mean there were some specific things that were accomplished here – at the G-20, at NATO, relative to Afghanistan that are tangible and are important but over time the seeds that were planted here are going to be very, very valuable for the security and progress of the United States."
Axelrod said: "there will be a harvest. It will come at different times, and different ways, but the seeds were planted and that was the goal of this trip."
One of those accomplishments came through President Obama winning over international populaces," Axelrod said.
"Throughout the campaign, the President spoke about the need to repair out relationships in the world, to mend our frayed alliances and begin again a dialogue with our allies and discussions with our adversaries to try to move America’s agenda forward, to try to make our country safer, to set the conditions for a better future," said the mustachioed Chicagoan. "We feel that we’ve taken a great step forward on this trip. The President has had the chance to establish personal relationships with leaders of many countries, with leaders who are gong to be important to us in promoting Americas interest in the world and the world’s security in the future."
Moreover, Axelrod said, "I think as important, we’ve — I think — begun a dialogue with the people of these countries as well. And one of the things that will make it easier for leaders of these nations to work cooperatively with us moving forward is the fact that we have a more positive image among their constituents. And that plainly is true. You can see it in all the polling that was released in the last few days. I think in every country in Europe we’ve made progress."
ABC News asked National Security Council official Denis McDonough whether the realities of the North Korean missile launch — and the struggle to secure Russian and Chinese support on the United Nations Security Council for strong action — highlights the difficulty of the task before them, despite announcements on pending summits with Russian and Chinese leaders.
"You’ve heard it from the president himself, that we’ve inherited a very, very difficult situation," McDonough said. "Is North Korea hard? Absolutely. Is — in and of itself — is the situation in Iraq difficult? Y es. Is the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan threatening and potentially destabilizing? Yes. All those things taken together in the context of a global financial crisis– does that make it all much more difficult? Yes.
"The president has always indicated that he is going to be persistent on this," McDonough said, adding that the president "is going to work tirelessly" and "knows there’s no silver bullet to any of these issues."