Those of you old enough to remember when prize fighting was a major sport might recall a standard practice of newspapers was to use the “tale of the tape” to measure differences between the fighters.

Below is political tape measure analysis of two presidents of powerful countries, Obama and Putin, one elected in a democratic tradition, the other who should ditch his title for dictator or czar.


Obama. Often speaks eloquently about world problems.

Putin.  Says things that aren’t true. (Oops, so does Obama.)

Winner:  Tie.


Obama. Likes to lead from behind.

Putin. Openly aggressive in words and deeds.



Obama:  Acts as if the world is what he wants it to be.

Putin: Acts as he wants the world to be.

Winner:  Putin


Obama.  Makes our allies unsure of the U.S. commitments to them.

Putin:     Keeps his policies secret until he acts

Winner:  Putin.

Public Relations skills     

Obama. His approval ratings in the U.S. are awful.

Putin:  Used the Sochi Olympics as a worldwide     propaganda tool.

Winner:  Putin.

Remembrances of things past 

Obama: forgot that Russia always does what it believes is in its national interest, like its invasion Georgia in 2008.

Putin: Yearns for the old Soviet Union, acts to expand Russia and reminds Obama of U.S. military actions that the U.S. undertook in its interests.

Winner:  Putin


Obama. Mr. Procrastination.

Putin. Immediacy.

Winner:  Putin.


ObamaWill leave a weaker America, untrusted by our allies.

Putin.    Will leave a prouder, stronger Russia.

Winner:  Putin.


Obama: Has little because of his eagerness to compromise on both domestic and foreign policy matters.

Putin:  Doesn’t mean what he says but once he acts stands by his decisions.

Winner:  Putin.

Leadership Qualities 

Obama: Little to none.

Putin: Strong.

Winner: Putin        

Personal Opinion: After five years of lackluster leadership, America needs a president who displays strength without vacillating on every important issue. If an American individual with Putin-like characteristics was running against Obama for the presidency, and this imaginary Putin-like individual believed in democracy and American values, my vote would not again go to Obama.

Conclusion: In this matchup, Putin is the clear winner.  Hopefully, Hillary Clinton will provide a tougher match-up.

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Arthur Solomon was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller.  He now is a contributor to PR, consults projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at