On his way to Minnesota today, President Obama took a break from his day job to watch one of the most anticipated World Cup matches so far — the U.S. vs. Germany — and he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the international sporting event has even affected U.S. foreign policy in subtle ways.
“We had elements — which I won’t detail — of our foreign policy that have been shaped around the World Cup,” Obama told Stephanopoulos. “Phone calls meetings initiatives we had to think about.”
During the conversation, Obama called the last World Cup “a breakthrough moment.
“The U.S. exceeded expectations,” Obama said. “This year you get a sense it has captured popular imagination.”
Obama said the American team had advanced from being a “non-factor” to being a “middle of the pack team.”
“We’re not Germany yet or Italy or France or Argentina or Brazil,” he said. “But we’re now in the mix.”
More of the interview will air on “Good Morning America” tomorrow and on “This Week” Sunday morning.
Thursday, the U.S. took on Germany in Recife, Brazil, and despite the U.S.’s 1-0 loss to the Germans, the Americans will still advance to the knockout round. As he watched the World Cup, the president was also joined by aides Valerie Jarrett, Dan Pfeiffer, Josh Earnest, and other senior staff members.
Obama will spend the day in Minneapolis, holding a town hall meeting this afternoon and speaking at a political fundraiser tonight.