"A year ago when we did this interview, there was some saber-rattling between the United States and Russia on the Ukrainian border," journalist Steve Kroft said to President Obama during a preview for the upcoming CBS segment.
"You said a year ago that the United States – America leads. We’re the indispensable nation. Mr. Putin seems to be challenging that leadership."
It’s a statement which causes visual discomfort in the president, who immediately struggles to put Kroft’s claims into perspective.
And in the process of doing so, Obama appears to have forgotten what happened in Ukraine during his administration.
"When I came into office – Ukraine was governed by a corrupt ruler who was a stooge of Mr. Putin," Obama says.
President Obama was inaugurated in January of 2009. While he does not mention the Ukrainian leader at that time by name, Viktor Yushchenko was in power.
What Obama appears to have forgotten is that Yushchenko is a strong ally of Washington’s, and he came to power through the US-backed Orange Revolution. Yushchenko’s wife, who was born and raised in Chicago and held US citizenship until 2005, formerly served as a US State Department official, and has been accused of leading US efforts to help her husband seize power.
In other words, Yushchenko is just about as far from a "stooge of Mr. Putin" as anyone could possibly be.
Perhaps Obama was referring to Victor Yanukovych, who was legitimately elected in 2010, only to be overthrown during the EuroMaidan uprising, which was also backed by Western efforts.
Kroft, however, stepped in, helping the president to face facts.
"[Putin is] challenging your leadership, Mr. President," he said. "He’s challenging your leadership."
The preview leaves one wondering whether a president who meddles so brazenly in the internal affairs of other countries without getting the facts straight shouldn’t first have his leadership questioned from time to time.