During a fundraising event in Chicago on Thursday, US President Barack Obama mentioned his visit with the Emir of Qatar. Check out what he had to say, courtesy of CBS (there’s no video, just audio).
UPDATE: Obama apparently made the remarks after reporters had left the room, and didn’t realize his microphone feed was still being channeled to the press briefing room.
Here’s the transcript:
I had the Emir of Qatar come by the Oval Office today. He owns Al Jazeera basically, pretty influential guy. He is a big booster, big promoter of democracy all throughout the Middle East. Reform, reform, reform - you’re seeing it on Al Jazeera.
Now, he himself is not reforming significantly (laughter from the audience). There is no big move towards democracy in Qatar.
You know part of the reason is that the per capita income of Qatar is $145,000 a year. That will dampen a lot of conflict (quiet laughter) - $145,000 a year!
Now keep in mind they have like 1.7 million people, and 75 percent of of them aren’t even Qatari. They’re from all over the world. You know, Filipinos and Pakistanis.
But you know the average income is $145,000 a year. Now granted, if you look at the curve, I’m sure not every laborer there is making (that), but I make this point only to say that if there’s opportunity, if people feel like their lives can get better, then a lot of these problems get solved.