In a speech to donors in New York Friday, President Obama tried to make the case for reelecting him using an unusual spin on his typical "change takes time riff." Specifically, the President drew historical comparisons between what he's trying to accomplish and the accomplishments of...Nelson Mandela and Gandhi? The President's quote:
The civil rights movement was hard. Winning the vote for women was hard. Making sure that workers had some basic protections was hard.
Around the world — Gandhi, Nelson Mandela — what they did was hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term, it takes more than a single president, it takes more than a single individual.
What it takes is ordinary citizens who keep believing, who are committed to fighting and pushing and inching this country closer and closer to our highest ideals. And I said in 2008, that I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president. But I promised you back then that I would always tell you what I believe. I would always tell you where I stood.
The President's remarks were also caught on video:
The President's remarks can be interpreted as more than simply a comparison of his ambitions with those of the titans he mentions. He does explicitly mention that winning major political battles takes "more than one individual." However, his citation of two specific individuals suggests that he may view himself in the role of a Mandela or a Gandhi, even if his followers are providing the mass movement grunt work.
Do you think the President's comparison is just ill-advised campaign rhetoric? Or does he actually believe that he's a historical figure on par with Mandela and Gandhi? Weigh in below.