Myanmar President Thein Sein appropriated President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan, “Forward,” as Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to visit his long-isolated country.
With the country on the path to democracy after crippling sanctions, internal unrest, and diplomatic action, Thein Sein, a leader of the former military junta, repeatedly used the phrase in his joint remarks with Obama.
“I want to use the exact word used by the President Obama: We will continue to move forward. We will move forward,” he said, as the crowd laughed.
“Forward” was also Obama’s theme for the country as it undergoes a transition to governing by the people, embracing many of his campaign themes for a global audience.
“Here in Rangoon, I want to send a message across Asia: We don’t need to be defined by the prisons of the past,” Obama said in remarks at the University of Yangon. “We need to look forward to the future.”
Aboard Air Force One en route to the final stop of the three-country Asia trip in Cambodia, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes acknowledged the “multiple times” President Thein Sein used the president’s campaign slogan.
“He said, I want to do what you have been talking about. I want to move forward,” Rhodes said.