There are positions taken by presidents on certain issues that show unmistakably who they really are.
Politics is always considered before a president utters anything always with an eye on the polls immediately afterward to see if there is any fallout.
But some issues transcend politics even for presidents and torture, particularly torture of those held by us in detention, is such an issue.
Last week President Obama during a news conference said with regards to Private Bradley Manning that the Pentagon had assured him his confinement "are appropriate and are meeting basic standards".
Now the president knows Manning has been held for nine months on charges he supplied "WikiLeaks" with government files. He has not been tried and convicted yet he remains in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, allowed to walk in shackles for one hour a day, forced to remove all his clothes every night, made to stand at attention naked outside his cell each morning until he passes inspection and then given his clothes back.
Forced nudity is a widely known humiliation technique. It is a form of torture.
The president has heretofore forcefully denounced prisoner abuse.
Yet with regards to Manning the president, choosing his words carefully, countenanced Manning's torture.
There is no other way to put it. There was no dissembling, no equivocation in the presidents statement.
To be sure this president (like all presidents before him) has his apologists who refuse to criticize him, always offering explanations and rationalizing why he did this or said that. But there is no rationalizing torture.
Barack Obama accepts it with regards to Bradley Manning.
That says all we need to know about the character of the man currently residing in the White House.