Newt Gingrich is interviewed on CNN's "The Situation Room." (CNN.com )
Republican presidential candidates on Monday jumped on a comment President Obama made to Russia's president, arguing that the president's remarks that he has more flexibility to deal with the nation after the fall election suggested he had troubling plans that he was keeping from the American people.
"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," Romney said on CNN's "The Situation Room."
"I'm very, very concerned. I think the American people are going to feel the same way. This is a president who is telling us one thing and doing something else and is planning on doing something even more frightening."
Newt Gingrich said on the same program that the president was being "cynical" and planned to "sell out" the nation's missile defense program.
"I'm curious, how many other countries has the president promised that he will have a lot more flexibility the morning he doesn't have to answer to the American people?" said the former House speaker.
The candidates were referring to a statement Obama made to Russian president Dmitri A. Medvedev: "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space ... . This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility." Medvedev replied that he understood and would pass on the information to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The remarks were interpreted by some as a suggestion that Obama plans to delay discussions with Russian leaders about a missile defense system based in Europe that has been a source of tension between the two nations.
Explaining the remark, a White House official said since 2012 is an election year in both countries, "it is clearly not a year in which we are going to achieve a breakthrough."
Original source: Gingrich: Obama 'flexibility' remark shows he'll 'sell out' U.S.