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Napolitano: Obama no-show in Sochi not a snub of Putin

4:14 PM, Feb 9, 2014   |    comments
President Obama and Vladimir Putin (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- President Obama's decision not to attend the Winter Olympics in Sochi is not a snub of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the head of the U.S. delegation to the Games.

Janet Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security, noted in a CNN interview that Obama has not attended any Olympics since taking office in early 2009.

"I think the president chose delegations that represent leaders from various walks of life," Napolitano said on State of the Union.

That delegation includes gay members, a move largely seen as a critical comment on anti-gay laws in Russia.

Said Napolitano, now president of the University of California system: "I think he sent a delegation that represents the broad values of the United States. We're here to support our team. We're here to represent our country, and we're proud to be here."

Napolitano said she has no plans to speak with Putin during the Olympics: "I'm not here as a diplomat."

No, I don't think so. I think he sent a delegation that represents the broad values of the United States. We're here to support our team. We're here to represent our country, and we're proud to be here.

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