At the end of his meeting with outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama was caught in a “hot mike” moment. Jake Tapper of ABC News transcribed the exchange:
President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
President Medvedev was referring to incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin. Here is the video of the unscripted moment:
Tapper reported when a senior advisor was asked what President Obama meant he responded:
…this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections — this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.
It isn’t surprising here that President Obama is already projecting weakness before Putin takes office. We’ve seen how he’s projected weakness towards Russia already with the previous START Treaty. “Don’t worry, President Medvedev, I have to take a tough stance now, but once I’m elected to a second term I can make a deal…” And with a wink and a nod we can get a glimpse of how this will play out.
Here we have a “space” program that President Obama won’t share with the American people. The fact he’s plans something favorable for the Russians, but potentially damaging to his campaign is disconcerting. William Jacobson summed up my concern with one question, “Why does Obama feel the President of Russia is entitled to know more about Obama’s plans than the American public?” Good question.