Obama bared his soul in Seoul yesterday.
Except, he didn’t mean to.
It was a flub.
A big one.
Speaking to soon-to-be-booted-out Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a hot mic caught Obama revealing a secret agenda for Russia (after claiming he’ll be re-elected this fall):
Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space.”
Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you.”
(Did you catch the body language between the two presidents…?)
Obviously, Obama and Medvedev didn’t know the world would hear their exchange. By the way, Putin (recently elected under dubious procedures) is expected to appoint Medvedev as Russia’s Prime Minister.
› Governor Romney addressed Obama’s telling revelation yesterday while speaking to an audience in San Diego, CA and talking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Hugh Hewitt also got The Gov’s take on it. LISTEN TO AUDIO of Hewitt’s interview here.
HH: So the President says, Governor Romney, this is my last election, after my election I have more flexibility. And President Medvedev says I understand, I will transmit this information to Vladimir. Your reaction, Governor Romney?
MR: Well, it is revealing, it is alarming, it’s troubling, it suggests that the President has a very different agenda with the Russians than he’s willing to tell the American people. And for that reason alone, we ought to vote him out of office. This is a very disconcerting development.
HH: What do you think he has in mind, Governor, when he says I will be flexible? Is it missile defense? It is the number of our warheads? Is it Iran? What is he talking about?
MR: Well, he says missile defense, but we’re talking about one of those two issues, either missile defense or warheads. What he’s done on warheads, of course, with the new START Treaty, he took warheads down to 1,500 on strategic nuclear weapons. Of course, the Russians were already at 1,500. They didn’t have to have any reductions. We were at 2,200. So the only reduction in his missile defense treaty was a reduction at the U.S. level. And of course, he ignored the tactical nuclear weapons, which are of course the same nukes. They’re just on smaller rockets. He ignored that, where Russia has an advantage of five or ten to one over us. So this is a president who continues to try and appease and accommodate, and believes that the best interests of America are to bow to the interests of Russia. And it’s very, very troubling, and I mean, I’m very disturbed by this. I hope the American people understand that what we heard from the President is revealing about his character in terms of what he tells the American people, and revealing about his direction and sentiment with regards to Russian, which is after all our number one geopolitical foe. They don’t represent a military threat to us at the present, but they oppose us at every turn in the United Nations, and oppose us in every one of our efforts, whether in Iraq or Iran, North Korea. They’re on the other side. And for him to be cozying up with them with regards to missile defense is simply unacceptable.
HH: How do you expect this aside from the President will be understood in Poland and the Czech Republic, and Ukraine, and Georgia, and other front line states facing a newly-expansive Russia?
MR: Well, I think our friends around the world have been reevaluating their relationship with the United States, in part because of this president’s treatment of friends relative to the treatment of enemies. I’ve heard from more than one foreign leader that it seems to be preferable to be an American foe than an American friend to this president.
HH: Now Governor Romney, the press will of course attempt to dismiss this as not a big issue. Will this remain a front line issue? And do you think that the President has got to spell out with great detail what he has in mind here?
MR: You know, I don’t think he can recover from it, to tell you the truth. I mean, I think he will try and spin something. But I don’t know how you spin from an open mic, where you’re talking about having more flexibility after the election, which means quite clearly that you don’t want the American people to hear what you’re really planning on doing, and that you’re going to be able to do more when you no longer are accountable to the American people. You know, the mainstream media may try and put this to bed, but we’re going to keep it alive and awake. And we’re going to keep hammering him with it all the way through November.
Full transcript may be found here.
› Here’s video of Romney discussing Obama’s comments with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (The Situation Room):
Text and UPDATES are included below the fold.