Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama on Monday for his remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that were caught on an open microphone, calling the comments "alarming" and "troubling."
When Obama and Medvedev were finishing a meeting in South Korea, Obama spoke candidly, thinking all microphones were off.
"On all these issues, but particularly missile defense . . . this can be solved, but it's important for him to give me space," Obama said, referring to Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin.
"This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility," Obama added.
Romney claimed the comments show Obama has a hidden agenda. While in southern California, Romney diverted his campaign speech to comment on Obama's remarks.
"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," Romney said.
He added, "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 [not] have a nuclear weapon."
Romney went on to say that he would make it very clear that the relationship America has around the world is one where the nation will be strong, with unshakable and unwavering commitment to our friends and allies.
Ben LaBolt, the press secretary for Obama's re-election campaign, released a statement saying, "Once again Governor Romney is undermining his credibility by distorting the President's words."
"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," he added.
Obama also addressed the issue in remarks following a separate meeting in South Korea, noting that arms control is extraordinarily complex and very technical.
The president pointed out that the negotiation and ratification of the New Start nuclear treaty with Russia was a painstaking two year process.
"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," Obama said to reporters.
He added, "I think the stories you guys have been writing over the last 24 hours is pretty good evidence of that."
by RTT Staff Writer
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