Mrs. Swogger, my French tutor in high school, loved to play this game with me. She would ask me questions she knew would be really difficult to answer kindly and watch me try to worm my way out. It wasn’t malicious. At least I didn’t think so. I rather enjoyed it. And she always praised my diplomacy.
Turns out it’s a useful skill for politicians.
Say what you want about Barak Obama, the man can talk. I’m not referring to his rather annoying hand gestures and stilted rhythm. Egads, the diplomacy (i.e., the things you can get away with in a press conference).