Burmese President Thein Sein,who rose to power through a military dictatorship but is now open to reform, adopted President Obama’s campaign slogan as his own during their meeting today.
“President Thein Sein went out of his way; multiple times in the meeting he used the President’s campaign slogan,” Obama deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters during a press gaggle. “You heard him do it in his public comments, but he did — multiple times in the bilat he said, ‘I want to do what you’ve been talking about, I want to move forward.’”
Thein Sein has a spotty history. “He was prime minister when the regime sparked international outrage by crushing pro-democracy protests led by Buddhist monks,” Reuters recalls. “He also presided over a national convention to draft the 2008 constitution, which enshrines the military’s powers and privileges, and was dismissed by the White House at the time as a sham.”
But Aung San Suu Kyi, the renowned Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner and political activist, says that she believes Thein Sein is now a sincere partner for reform.