Obama Tells ABC Apology for Koran Burning ‘Calmed’ Afghanistan

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said his apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the burning of the Koran at a U.S. base has “calmed things down.”

Obama said in an ABC News interview released today that, while tensions are still high in Afghanistan over the incident, the apology in a letter to Karzai has helped ease the situation. He dismissed criticism of the apology from Republicans.

“My criteria in any decision I make, getting recommendations from folks who are actually on the ground, is what is going to best protect our folks and make sure that they can accomplish their mission,” Obama said, according to an excerpt released by ABC.

The burning of Korans at an air base in Afghanistan sparked riots and attacks on U.S. personnel in the country. The Pentagon said the Korans were with religious materials that were improperly disposed of by being put in a pile of debris for burning.

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have been among the critics of the apology.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Sobczyk in Washington at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net