Obama: World Cup Shaping Foreign Policy

Image: Obama: World Cup Shaping Foreign Policy President Barack Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett watch the U.S. and Germany World Cup soccer match while aboard Air Force One on June 26.

Friday, 27 Jun 2014 09:08 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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President Barack Obama watched the U.S. soccer team lose to Germany on Thursday in the World Cup and then said the world's most-watched sporting event is shaping foreign policy.

"We had elements, which I won't detail, of our foreign policy that have been shaped around the World Cup," Obama told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview. "Phone calls, meetings, initiatives we had to think about."

While watching the game with White House aides Valerie Jarrett, Dan Pfeiffer, Josh Earnest, and other senior staff members, Obama called the last World Cup in 2010 "a breakthrough moment" for soccer in the United States.

"The U.S. exceeded expectations," Obama said. "This year you get a sense it has captured popular imagination."

Saying the American team had gone from being a "nonfactor" to a "middle of the pack team," he added, "We're not Germany yet, or Italy or France, or Argentina or Brazil. But we're now in the mix."

The interview was due to air on "Good Morning America" on Friday morning and on "This Week" Sunday morning.

The United States lost 1-0 to Germany during group play of the tournament being held in Brazil, but still made it into the knockout round of 16 teams and will play Belgium on Tuesday.

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