Kerry: 'I don't pay attention to polls'

Secretary of State John Kerry said “I don’t pay attention to polls” Tuesday after surveys showed disapproval for the administration’s foreign policy and handling of Iraq. 

In an interview with Fox News, Kerry was asked about a New York Times/CBS News poll showing only 36 percent of the public approves of President Obama’s foreign policy. Only 37 percent approved of his handling of the situation in Iraq.

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“I just don’t pay attention to polls. If I paid attention to polls, I would have quit in Iowa a long time ago,” Kerry said in a reference to his 2004 presidential campaign. 

Kerry counseled patience, saying “it’s a good thing that we don’t do foreign policy by polls.”

“I’d never doubt the judgment of the American people,” Kerry said when pressed on the polls. “But I think it’s inevitable that people will have a sense of dissatisfaction when things are in upheaval. And what I am trying to convey is that we are as involved as we ever have been at any time, in the crises of North Korea working to denuclearize, Iran to prevent them from having a nuclear weapon, Syria to help the moderate opposition to deal with a dictator who is killing his own people. These are complicated things.”

Kerry sat for a range of interviews Tuesday during a trip to Iraq, where Sunni militants have taken over much of the country.

In an interview with the BBC, Kerry emphasized the need to form a new Iraqi government.

Interviewer Kim Ghattas asked, “So no military air strikes before a government formation?”

“Well, I mean, barring some exigent emergency or something that predicates that the president makes a decision, which he always has available to him with respect to any country or any crisis in the world,” Kerry responded.

“But basically, there must be a government here so that there can be a strategy going forward, because just a strike alone is not going to change the outcome,” he added. “You need to have a full-fledged strategy that is being implemented which is principally a political strategy.”