Student or Learner
Hi, Is attitude in this context is like "approach"?
“What if you change your mind?” his old friend Valerie
“You can always change your mind,” Obama said without concern.
“I haven’t made a decision at all.”
“But you kind of said you wouldn’t do it.”
“Well, I probably won’t.”
Obama’s attitude could be seen as cavalier—or deeply
cynical. But it also reflected an instinctive disdain for the
conventional rules of politics.
Hi Bill sorry but I didn't understand what you wanted to say with "a mental state sometimes reflected by external expression"
If it's not "Approach" what other word it can be ?
I can't think of one single word that we could put in place of "attitude" there, or in many other contexts. There are plenty of synonyms for "attitude" here but none of them, in my opinion, quite fit the bill.
As Bill said, it means that someone has a particular point of view or opinion of something which is reflected outwardly in perhaps their behaviour or their tone of voice or their body language.
If you imagine a teenager behaving in that classically teenage way (ie disinterested, miserable, disrespectful!):
Mother: It's your father's birthday tomorrow. Let's all do something nice together.
Daughter: (Shrugs) Whatever. Don't care.
Mother: I am sick of your attitude. Go to your room.
Mother to father later: I'm worried about Jane. Her attitude recently has been awful. She's rude to me and she told me she didn't care about your birthday. She just doesn't seem to be interested in anything.
In the example you gave, it means that Obama's words suggest that his feelings about the matter might be cavalier, that he's not treating whatever it is as important. His words seem to display a somewhat laid-back easy-going attitude to the subject, which doesn't seem to be in keeping with how important the subject is thought to be by other people. I really can't find a suitable substitue for "attitude" there.
Thanks a lot Emsr2d2, I'll read your great post for couple of times more and hopefully will understand