Was that red line of Obama's a thing he and his advisers had thought about in advance or was it off the cuff? Whatever it was, I don't think he expected to be called on it. He's now attempting to convince us he didn't say it at all- or that he was just saying what everyone else was thinking. Both these things are clearly not the case.
When you're in power you can't afford to let your mind wander. Every word, every action, has weight.
Auden has a poem about a tyrant which ends, "And when he cried the little children died in the streets."