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Robert De Niro on Barack Obama: ‘He's a good person, period'

Robert De Niro, best supporting actor nominee for his role in "Silver Linings Playbook", arrives at the 85th Academy Awards in HollywoodRobert De Niro, best supporting actor nominee for his role in "Silver Linings Playbook", arrives at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood

By Greg Gilman

LOS ANGELES ( - President Barack Obama has his fair share of critics, but Robert De Niro is not one.

The Academy Award winning actor, who returns to theaters on September 13 in "The Family," told Dujour that he doesn't particularly care if the Commander in Chief delivers on all his promises, because it's an impossible task to accomplish, and his strength of character is what really matters.

"He's a good person, period," De Niro told the magazine. "He's trying his best. He's going to do things that people feel are not right or violating one right or another. But at the end of the day, he represents, I think, the best of the type of people that I would like to see running the government. He has to play that game, the political game. They all do. They make statements they can't honor because they're impossible to honor."

In the 70-year-old Academy Award winner's eyes, the President's critics can't truly understand his decisions until they — pardon the cliché — walked a mile in his shoes.

"It's like directing a movie and you edit the film and then someone will give you a suggestion: ‘You could do this, you could do that.' You look and you say, ‘Yeah, but the reason I can't do that is because I don't have that shot, and if I use this shot that's better here, it impacts on this one and it's a story point.' In other words, it can't be done. You have to make these choices with the government, and you're going to be criticized. If you took the time to explain it all to the public, they'd say, ‘OK, I get it.' Can you explain to everybody? No. You just have to say, ‘I made this choice because I felt it was the right choice.'"

De Niro, best known for portraying intimidating mobsters in films like "Goodfellas," "Casino," "The Godfather: Part II" and now "The Family," also took a moment reflect on the loss of another iconic tough guy, "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini.

"It's terrible. He was too young," De Niro said. "I wish that he had been more maybe proactive about his health. I don't know what he did about that, but I wish he had been. It shouldn't have happened."

Gandolfini died suddenly in June while vacationing in Rome, Italy. The 51-year-old actor died due to cardiac arrest.