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Don Obama? The surprising ways the President is like the Godfather

President Obama and Marlon Brando as Don Corleone
President Obama and Marlon Brando as Don Corleone
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images/Paramount Pictures

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If you ever scratch your head about the President's foreign policy moves, Harvard professor Stephen Walt says look no further than the Corleones to understand the motivations.

It's well known that Obama loves the Godfather trilogy, a fact he told Katie Couric back in 2008.


Walt says it goes beyond "like": President Obama demonstrates a lot of similarities between himself and the Don.

"Michael Corleone says, 'It's not personal, it's strictly business.' If you look at the governing style of Don Corleone and Michael Corleone, they don't make a lot of threats, they don't raise their voices," Walt says. "But when it's time to deal with adversaries, they're rather remorseless in dispatching them, much in the way that Obama dispatched Osama bin Ladin."

It may seem unusual to compare the head of the U.S. to a gangster, but Walt points out that politics is a ruthless business.

"Ultimately, any president's responsibility is to make the United States safer and trying to making Americans better off and more prosperous," he says. "Having a president who's somewhat more detached and somewhat more cold-blooded about American interests might not be such a bad thing."