As you may have heard, Barack Obama got caught chatting with Dmitri Medvedev on a mike that he didn't realize was on. Here's what they said:
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama can be heard telling Medvedev, apparently referring to incoming Russian president — and outgoing prime minister — Vladimir Putin.
“Yeah, I understand,” Medvedev replies, according to an account relayed by an ABC News producer, who said she viewed a recording of the discussion made by a Russian camera crew. “I understand your message about space. Space for you ...”
“This is my last election,” Obama interjects. “After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev, who last week demanded written proof that Russia is not the intended target of U.S. missile defense efforts, responded agreeably.
“I understand,” he told the U.S. president. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Just imagine the glee with which news of this exchange was received by one Willard Mitt Romney. For once, someone other than himself was saying things that, especially if taken a little out of context, could be put to good use by opponents! Use such as this, as Romney deployed today:
"This weekend, the president happened to be somewhere where the microphone was left open. You may have heard that. It can be revealing, in this case, it was. He was speaking with Mr. Medvedev, of Russia. And he said, ‘This is my last election, I can be more flexible after the election is over.’ Now when the president of the United States is speaking with the leader of Russia saying he can be more flexible after the election, that is an alarming and troubling development. This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people. And not telling us what he’s intending to do with regards to our missile defense system, with regards to our military might and with regards to our commitment to Israel and with regard to our absolute conviction that Iran must (sic) have a nuclear weapon. I will make it very clear that the relationship we have around the world is one where America will be strong, that America’s strength and commitment to our friends and allies will be unshakable and unwavering."
Yes, because the first thing our rivals abroad will think when they contemplate the prospect of a Romney presidency is: "Wait, is this the man we have been hearing about, that leader of unshakable resolve who has been so unwavering in his commitments? We shake in our fur-lined boots!"
*Addendum, 3:03 p.m.: Romney was hardly the only one to jump on the hot mic moment with alacrity. Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post's Pravda aspirant, titled her post on the exchange: "Obama's hot mic disaster." How do you say hyperventilate in Russian?
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