Have you ever wondered how much of a politician’s actions are based on policy versus trying to get reelected? It’s an issue that has been brought to the forefront thanks to some comments President Barack Obama meant to say privately that instead were transmitted over a live microphone. Discussing missile defense, Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that they need to not push things until campaign season is over. “This is my last election…After my election I have more flexibility.”
Hot mics often get politicians into hot water. And of course, since this is a campaign year, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney immediately jumped on the president’s remarks. “Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage, and for this president to be looking for greater flexibility, where he doesn’t have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia is very, very troubling, very alarming…I’m very, very concerned.”
Romney’s comments then left Medvedev fairly concerned, too — about whether the GOP thinks they are in a James Bond movie. “I always get very cautious when I see a country resort to phrasings such as ‘No. 1 enemy.’ It is very reminiscent of Hollywood in a certain period of history…My other advice is to check their clocks from time to time. It is 2012, not the mid-1970s. No matter what party a candidate represents, he has to take the current state of affairs into account.”
Obama, meanwhile, is taking all of the controversy in stride. “Before sitting down at a plenary session for a Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Obama greeted Medvedev. ‘Wait, wait, wait, wait,’ he said, the AP reported. Grinning, he put his hand over the microphone.”
The episode will likely lead to a comparison between the president and his GOP challenger as to which would serve better on the diplomatic side of the White House. It also will likely remind Obama to always do a mic check.
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