A day after being caught on an open mic telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev he’ll have “flexibility” on a missile deal after he wins reelection, President Obama is insisting he has no secret agenda.
“This is not a matter of hiding the ball,” Obama told reporters at a nuclear security summit in Seoul on Tuesday, adding his views on the U.S. plans for a defense shield are already “on record.”
“The only way I get this stuff done is if I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support, and frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations,” he acknowledged.
The right immediately pounced on Obama after a live microphone picked up his private conversation with Medvedev following a 90-minute meeting on Monday.
Obama is heard asking for “patience” and “space” until November.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich argued the President “basically said to a Russian leader: ‘Please wait until after the election so I can sell out.’”
And while stumping in San Diego, Mitt Romney argued that Obama is “pulling punches with the American people.” He later told CNN that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitics foe.”
Medvedev weighed in on the Republican backlash on Tuesday, arguing Romney’s remarks were straight out of a bad Cold War movie.
“Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like ‘enemy number one’, this always alarms me, this smells of Hollywood and certain times (of the past),” Medvedev said at the end of a nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital.
“Also, (one needs to) look at his watch: we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s,” he said.
Obama poked fun of his mic gaffe on Tuesday before the summit began.
While greeting Medvedev, Obama laughed and exclaimed “Wait, wait, wait,” placing his hand over the microphone.