I can’t just go for a walk anymore: Obama voices ‘frustration’

April 4th, 2009 - 1:48 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama New York, April 4 (IANS) The trappings of presidency have deprived Barack Obama of simple everyday pleasures like strolling down to a cafe for some wine, watching people on the road or even admiring the sunset from inside a shop, he has confessed, however adding that there is nothing more noble than public service.
The US president voiced his regret while answering a query by a woman from Heidelberg, Germany, who asked Obama if he ever regretted having run for president.

The question yielded a lengthy response from Obama, who is participating in his first overseas trip in office.

“You know, it’s very frustrating now,” he said. “It used to be when I came to Europe that I could just wander down to a cafe and sit and have some wine and watch people go by and go into a little shop and watch the sun go down.

“Now I’m in hotel rooms all the time. And I have security around me all the time. So just losing that ability to just take a walk, you know? That is something that is frustrating,” CNN quoted him as saying.

However, he added quickly - “But — having said all that, I truly believe that there’s nothing more noble than public service”, and explained that service doesn’t mean one has to run for president.

Addressing a packed town hall meeting in Strasbourg, France, Obama said that his wife Michelle had asked him whether he ever regretted running for president.

“You know, there have been times, certainly during the campaign, and there have been times over the last several months where you feel a lot of weight on your shoulders. There’s no doubt about it,” the president said.

With his wife, Michelle, looking on, Obama continued, “During the campaign, the biggest sacrifice — the thing that was most difficult was that I was away from my family all the time.”

Obama said that he was running for president on Feb 10, 2007, and was inaugurated nearly two years later. “So I was away from home all the time, and that was very difficult, because not only do I have a wonderful wife, but I have two perfect daughters, and so, you know, I missed them a lot,” he said.

Obama said with all the challenges facing the world now, the younger generation has an abundance of opportunities to make a difference.

“It would be a tragedy if all of you who are so talented and energetic — if you let that go to waste, if you just stood back and watched the world pass you by,” he said.

“Better to jump in, get involved — and it does mean that sometimes you’ll get criticized and sometimes you’ll fail and sometimes you’ll be disappointed — but you’ll have a great adventure. And at the end of your life, hopefully you’ll be able to look back and say, ‘I made a difference’.

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