Democrats Panic After Obama’s ‘Flexibility’ Moment

Open mic incident poses major general election issue for Obama, and Democrats rush to counterattack.

Zeke Miller

President Obama chats with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a bilateral meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Monday. (AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Click on the image to enlarge.

President Barack Obama today shrugged off an overheard private conversation with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev in which he suggested he’d be more “flexible” on missile defense after his re-election.

But the frantic Democratic reaction to his comments, and an intense effort to turn a presidential gaffe into a partisan food-fight, belies the official White House dismissal of the incident.

Obama’s principal Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, saw Obama’s promise of flexiblity on missile defense after his reelection as major sign of weakness. “This is a president who was telling us one thing and doing something else and is planning on doing something even more frightening,” Romney said in an interview on CNN’s The Situation Room yesterday, calling Russia the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe.”

Democrats and Obama’s campaign team took the opportunity to, in a classic political reflex, to attack rather than defend, releasing a barrage of tweets and eight emailed press releases…

The article continues at BuzzFeed.

Update‘Plan for Cooperation’; Missile Defense Envoy Outlines Plans for Russian Talks

A senior State Department official this week revealed the Obama administration’s plan for working with Russia on missile defenses.

Prior to the president’s controversial remarks in a conversation with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev on missile defense, Ellen Tauscher, State Department special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense, said in a Monday speech to a missile defense conference that she has been working with Russian negotiators to reach “mutually beneficial areas of cooperation.”

She outlined a program of giving Russia access to missile defense tests and furthering talks she said are aimed at getting Moscow “inside the tent.”

Tausher has faced criticism from Congress for her past secret dealings with Russia that raised concerns about negotiated limits on missile defense. A draft agreement drawn up by her State Department office prior to a summit meeting last year of G-8 leaders at Deauville, France was pulled back from signing over White House lawyers’ concerns it would legally bind missile defenses….

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Update 2Even Comedian Jon Stewart Mocks Obama’s Open Mic Moment with Russians: “Mr. President, We can Hear You Capitulating to the Russians” – Video 3/28/12

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