March 27th, 2012
09:04 AM ET

Romney alarmed by Obama open mic gaffe

Speaking with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul, an open mic caught President Obama saying, "This is my last election. And after my election, I have more flexibility."  Medvedev responded, "I understand you. I transmit this information to Vladimir, and I stand with you." Wolf Blitzer interviewed GOP candidate for president Mitt Romney about these comments. Here's a transcript of the discussion:

Wolf Blitzer: That is a factual statement that the president is making. If he doesn't have to worry getting reelected, he doesn't have to worry so much about domestic politics. Is there anything wrong when it comes to national security issues, to be saying something like that to the Russian leader?

Mitt Romney: Yes, there's something terribly wrong with that. It is alarming. It is troubling. The agreement that the president put in place with regards to nuclear weapons is one which I find very, very troubling already. The decision to withdraw our missile defense sites from Poland put us in greater jeopardy, in my view. The actions he's taken so far which he says are to reset relations with Russia have not worked out at all.

Russia continues to support Syria, supports Iran, has fought us with the crippling sanctions we wanted to have the world put in place against Iran. 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. I think the American people are going to feel the same way. This is a president who is telling us one thing and is doing something else, and is planning on doing something else even more frightening. 
Wolf Blitzer: Well, when you say even more frightening, what he's planning on doing in your opinion?

Mitt Romney: Well, my guess is it has to do either with nuclear arms discussions, or it has to do with missile defense site. What he did both on with nuclear weaponry already and the new START treaty, as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from Poland, and reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan.

I mean, these are very unfortunate developments and if he's planning on doing more and suggest to Russia that he has things he's willing to do with them he's no willing to tell the American people, this is to Russia this is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight every cause for the world's worst actors, the idea that he has some more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.

Wolf Blitzer: You think Russia is a bigger foe right now than, let's say, Iran or China or North Korea, is that what you're suggesting, Governor?

Mitt Romney: Well, I'm saying in terms of a geopolitical opponent, the nation which aligns with the world's famous actors. Of course, the greatest threat that the world faces is a nuclear Iran and nuclear North Korea is already troubling enough, but when these terrible actors pursue their course in the world and we go to the United Nations looking for ways to stop them, when Assad for instance is murdering its own people, we go to the United Nations and who is it that always stands up for the world's worst actors, it is always Russia, typically with China alongside.

And so, in terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that's on the Security Council, that has the heft of the Security Council, and is, of course, a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe, and the idea that our president is planning on doing something with them that he's not willing to tell the American people before the election is something I find very, very alarming.

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Topics: 2012 Election • President Obama • Russia

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Bocknobby

    Was it a mistake by Obama? Yes. Was it as grievous as commentators and GOP candidates would have one believe? Hardly. Strikes me that Obama was only stating the obvious: in an election year, candidates must do and say certain things to win the support of the electorate. For Romney et al to profess this is shocking news is just plain nonsense. Voters are not stupid; they understand individuals will say and do just about anything to be elected. Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich are doing the same and no one would expect them to be slaves to their utterances. One need only compare their promises and commitments to date with their actions in the past - all demonstrate a "flexibility". If this is the best they have on Obama, it is no contest.

    March 27, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Exactly! The fact that world leaders express Obama their candour shows he enjoys a high profile, respect and trust among his peers. Medvedev in response to Romney's over-reaction said: "I recommend that all US presidential candidates... do at least two things: that they use their head and consult their reason when they formulate their positions, and that they check the time – it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s".

      March 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • ABELL


      September 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
  2. pmcdonald

    But almost everyone is a foe of America in the eyes of the GOP. Russia of course. State capitalist China. Islamist middle east. Secular social democratic Europe. Socialist leaning Latin America. With the GOP in charge, it is true that America really has few friends and lots of enemies. But the GOP creates these enemies for America!

    March 27, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Wiliams

      I think Romney did. McCain was so smug and arrogant! His only newsars talked about his military career. Romney made valid points. Huckabee and Ron Paul did fairly well to when they were allowed to talk. Was this answer helpful?

      April 21, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply
  3. SickandTired

    I am so sick and tired of corrupt politicians – right and left. Partisan politcs are tearing this county apart. It seems to me like we just keep going further and further to the extremes. Neither side can be 100% right all of time. What will it take for this country to get back to some moderate middle ground? I just fear what it will actually take to "reset" our system – not for myself but for my children...

    March 27, 2012 at 10:04 am | Reply
    • Lionel Mandrake

      When you say "I am so sick and tired of corrupt politicians – right and left." Which politician are you talking about.
      To make such a baseless statement without quantifying it, you look pretty ignorant.

      March 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
    • ABELL

      DITTO!!! The old line Republican, you can't tell from the Leftist Democrats.
      The new ones that come in, are corrupt before their first term is over.
      When you remove Moral Law from our children's education, they find nothing wrong with anything they CHOOSE to do.
      Once they go to school, the greater influence is the Teachers and there Peers............
      As many corrupt teachers as politicians, they force feed Leftist b.s or propaganda and they discredit any opposition. Abuse of there Power in the Class room. Intimidation and downright wrath, to Control HOW THEY THINK, not teach them to think.

      September 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  4. dennis

    Today's Word of the Day – IMPEACH

    March 27, 2012 at 10:11 am | Reply
  5. Jack

    It doesn't matter because the American people don't care about missile defense. Most don't even know what it means.

    Whatever happens, you can be sure Obama will just blame Bush and the Republicans.

    March 27, 2012 at 10:14 am | Reply
    • Lionel Mandrake

      Can you quote a source for this insulting statement?
      If not, from which part of your anatomy are you pulling these statements?

      March 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  6. IAmLegendary

    Impeach the President? Really? I guess theres such a thing as a "Good" politician or "Better" one. The next in Office will surely care more and lie less...Right?

    March 27, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • Lionel Mandrake

      Lying is a muslim thing:

      Print This Article

      Lying in Islam
      By Abdullah Al Araby
      Like most religions, Islam in general, forbids lying. The Quran says, "Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies." Surah 40:28. In the Hadith, Mohammed was also quoted as saying, "Be honest because honesty leads to goodness, and goodness leads to Paradise. Beware of falsehood because it leads to immorality, and immorality leads to Hell."
      However, unlike most religions, within Islam there are certain provisions under which lying is not simply tolerated, but actually encouraged.
      Bukhari:V7B67N427 "The Prophet said, 'If I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath.'"
      Qur'an 9:3 "Allah and His Messenger dissolve obligations."
      Qur'an 66:2 "Allah has already sanctioned for you the dissolution of your vows."
      Bukhari:V4B52N268 "Allah's Apostle said, 'War is deceit.'"
      Qur'an 4:142 "Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah. He shall retaliate by deceiving them."
      Bukhari:V7B71N661 "Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle and he was bewitched so that he began to imagine doing things which in fact, he had not done."
      Bukhari:V6B60N8 "Umar said, 'Our best Qur'an reciter is Ubai. And in spite of this, we leave out some of his statements because Allah's Apostle himself said, "Whatever verse or revelation We abrogate or cause to be forgotten We bring a better one."
      Qur'an 33:11 "In that situation the Believers were sorely tried and shaken as by a tremendous shaking. And behold! The Hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease said: 'Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion; they have promised only to deceive us."

      March 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  7. BKH

    It is a standing rule of international negotiations that you don't tip your hand to your opponent before you even open negotiations with them (especially when dealing with Russia). That is the president's first mistake. In essence what he told the Russian president was that once he no longer has to make politically expedient decisions due to the election, he will give them what they won't–without demanding any concessions on their part. Any student who's taken a freshman level political science class should have cringed at the president's misstep. You can sense that the Russian can hardly conceal his glee (and he's probably thinking of Mr Obama, "What an amateur!"). Mr Obama's second mistake is that what he suggest is sheer madness in terms of national security policy.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  8. Kenneth

    I appreciate that CNN has brought this story to its viewers during a time in which we will be choosing our next leader. I think that Obama is just being honest in a situation when he didn't think everyone else was listening. He intends to say what he needs to be elected and do something different after the fact. I look forward to new leadership in the White House next year!

    March 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Austine

      Right. Because everyone on the current campaign trail is honest....Why of course they are!

      March 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  9. joAnn

    I found Pres Obama's remarks very disturbing. Not at all what the head of a nation should be itimating to another world power unless he has something to hide. Why doesn't he tell the people he rules what he has secretly planned with all the countries he is aligning with once he gets re-elected.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  10. matt a

    Having a mike in front of barnstorming politicians is just asking them to make ill-advised remarks.
    Perhaps a moratorium on political grandstanding? In my dreams.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  11. George Patton

    That so-called Missile Defense Shield being planned in Eastern Europe is undoubtedly the most idiotic idea ever conceived in the annals of mankind!!! First of all, the U.S. will pay the lions share of the expenses with the money it doesn't have in the first place! Secondly, it will only antagonize the Russians and finally, it will not "defend" anybody since nobody currently poses any kind of threat to Europe!!!

    March 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Lionel Mandrake

      From one discussion to another, everything becomes "so called" to you.
      Habibi, it is called what it is.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  12. Benedict

    Well,this Obama‘s last election and i can see that Romney knows it! Must be galling!!!

    March 28, 2012 at 3:56 am | Reply
    • Lionel Mandrake

      Okay, you leave way too much unsaid.

      March 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  13. Rose

    that Romney's refusal to reealse his tax returns would come back to bite him big time ... and it did in the SC Primary.Romney forgot the first rule of politics ... the need to be proactive rather than reactive ... and now he is left playing catch-up politics .. never a good thing.It is not his wealth that is at issue. He could have turned his success into electoral advantage ... 'We should celebrate success. It is the American dream and give me a chance and I will make you (America) wealthy too' ... or suchlike. He has squandered that chance. He is playing the Washington outsider vs the Washington insider card and how that that will resonate remains to be seen.But I continue to be amazed that the GOP sees Romney and Gingrich as quality candidates. They are to the Republicans much like Goff was to Labour and Peters to National before be jumped/pushed.On current form I fear that Obama will win at a canter.Mike Huckerbee ... where are you?

    April 23, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Reply
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    May 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Reply
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