President Obama's open mic comments stir up controversy

president-obama-medvedev.jpgA remark caught made by President Obama on an open microphone has sparked a kerfuffle along party lines.

On Monday (March 26), the President was overheard at the Nuclear Security Summit telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he can tell incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin that it's important to give him (President Obama) space on missile defense and that after this election, he'll have more flexibility.

Republicans were swift to respond, primarily through a new ad that says, "What Obama tells world leaders when he thinks you aren't listening" and asks, "What else is on Obama's agenda after the election that he isn't telling you?"

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney then said at a campaign stop in San Diego, "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 have a nuclear weapon."

Romney later said on CNN that Russia is "without question, our number one geopolitical foe."

When Wolf Blitzer responded by wondering if Romney thought Russia was a bigger threat than North Korea or China or Iran, Romney said, "Well, I'm saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent. The nation that lines up with the world's worst actors. Of course, the greatest threat a world faces is a nuclear Iran."

Pushing back, the Obama campaign's press secretary Ben LaBotl responded to Romney with, "Governor Romney has been all over the map on the key foreign policy challenges facing our nation today, offering a lot of chest thumping and empty rhetoric with no concrete plans to enhance our security or strengthen our alliances. Instead of passing the buck, it is time that Governor Romney shared his foreign policy agenda with the American people."

And President Obama himself responded, saying, "Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understanding, both between countries and within countries. I don't think it's any surprise that you can't start that a few months before presidential and congressional elections in the United States, and at a time when they just completed elections in Russia, and they're in the process of a presidential transition where a new president's going to be coming in a little less than two month ... I'm on record," the president said of wanting to reduce nuclear stockpiles. I want to see us over time gradually, systematically reduce reliance on nuclear weapons."

Hey, at least the President didn't say of Romney on the open mic, " We might be talking about a .22 caliber mind in a .357 magnum world."
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