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US to Putin: 'Exceptional?' Da! (+video)

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Who is Vladimir Putin to tell Americans they’re not exceptional?

That was a general, bipartisan reaction in the nation’s capital and US politics in general on Friday to Russian President Putin’s controversial Thursday opinion piece in the New York Times.

Putin’s piece was a lengthy argument against any US strike on Syria and against the general US practice of intervention overseas. Parts of the article were bluster, such as his assertion that it was Syrian rebels who carried out the alleged chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21, not the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Parts were unexceptional, in the sense that they repeated arguments made by domestic critics of a possible US military action in Syria.

But the words of Putin that really roiled the nation’s capital were at the end, tacked on in a manner that almost seemed an afterthought. They were a direct response to President Obama, who in his Tuesday night speech to the nation referred to America as “exceptional”.

“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional ... we must not forget that God created us equal,” Putin wrote.

Game on, Vladimir.

First up was White House spokesman Jay Carney, who quickly defended the president’s exceptionalism assertion.

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