Reporting from San Diego — While campaigning in California Monday morning, Mitt Romney pounced on President Obama’s offhand comments to Russian leaderDmitri A. Medvedev — calling the conversation caught on a hot microphone “an alarming and troubling development.”
During a nuclear security summit meeting in Seoul, Obama was captured on tape telling Medvedev that after the November election he would “have more flexibility." 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.”
Diverting from his remarks about Obama’s health care program during a speech at a San Diego medical device company, Romney followed the lead of the Republican National Committee — which put out an ominous video mocking the exchange — by calling Obama’s open mic comments “revealing.”
“This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people,” Romney said. “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. I will make it very clear that the relationship we have around the world is one where America will be strong, that America’s strength and commitment to our friends and allies will be unshakable and unwavering."