- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2013

President Obama said Friday that the U.S. shouldn’t boycott the Russian Winter Olympics next year, but said the U.S. relationship has gone from “reset” to “pause.”

Mr. Obama took office in 2009 promising the reset and arguing he could make headway where the Bush administration had failed, but this week he canceled a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said the U.S. will have to stop and think about whether it can still cooperate.

“It is probably appropriate for us to take a pause,” Mr. Obama said at a press conference.

Mr. Obama said the decision to cancel a planned summit with Mr. Putin next month is not just about that country giving asylum to Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked information about secret government snooping programs.

“Frankly on a whole range of issues where we think we can make some progress, Russia has not moved,” he said.

Mr. Obama also took pains to say he opposes calls to boycott the Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia next year. Those calls have intensified in recent weeks after reports of strict anti-gay laws on the books in Russia.

“Nobody’s more offended than me by some of the anti-gay and lesbian legislation,” Mr. Obama said, but he said the best way to show up those laws would be for gay or lesbian athletes to win medals.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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