- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Republicans fear Obama will sell out to Russia
President denies ‘hiding the ball’
SEOUL — A defensive President Obama said Tuesday that he wasn’t guilty of “hiding the ball” when an open microphone caught him pleading with the president of Russia to delay missile-shield talks until after this year’s U.S. elections.
Mr. Obama was responding to a stateside political furor Monday, though his remarks Tuesday did not quell Republicans’ specific criticism that he is waiting until he is politically invulnerable to sell out U.S. interests to the Kremlin.
“The only way I get this stuff done is if I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support and, frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations,” Mr. Obama told reporters at a nuclear security summit here. “This is not a matter of hiding the ball.”
A day earlier, Mr. Obama was caught on tape telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he needed “space” this year to put his re-election campaign behind him before taking up missile-defense negotiations with the Russians.
“After my election, I have more flexibility,” he told Mr. Medvedev, unaware that their conversation was being recorded by a journalist.
Republicans in Washington reacted angrily Monday, accusing Mr. Obama of hiding his true intentions and fearing that he might give in to Russian demands after the elections. GOP presidential candidates, foreign policy mavens and political strategists focused on what the episode may say about Mr. Obama’s candor and trustworthiness.
“This isn’t about politics. This is about the president’s real agenda,” presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said while campaigning Tuesday in Beaver Dam, Wis. “The president’s real agenda is to withdraw, to allow — whether it’s the Russians or the Chinese or whoever it is, the Iranians — let them have their run of the table because America’s no longer in the business of protecting ourselves and our allies.”
In an opinion piece at Fox News, Karl Rove, who was President Bush’s top political adviser and the architect of his 2004 re-election bid, said Mr. Obama’s words “go beyond foreign affairs” and could hurt his chances in November.
“Mr. Obama’s private turned public remarks [may] confirm doubts that he’s not shooting straight with the American people. It may also contribute to a belief that he holds voters in thinly disguised contempt. Is Mr. Obama also concealing unpopular domestic policies he’ll spring on the country in a second term?” Mr. Rove said. “What the president calls ‘flexibility’ with Russian autocrats, American voters will likely view as a lack of candor with them.”
One outlier in the political wrangling Tuesday was House Speaker John Boehner. The Ohio Republican declined an invitation from reporters to comment on the president’s remarks.
“While the president is overseas,” Mr. Boehner said, “I think it´s appropriate that we not be critical of him or of our country.”
The episode overshadowed the nuclear summit, a conference of 54 heads of state and government that wrapped up Tuesday. Clearly eager to put the controversy to rest before leaving South Korea on Tuesday night, Mr. Obama jumped at the chance when a reporter asked him to clarify his comments. He began by asking reporters, “Are the mics on?
“What I said yesterday — is something that I think everyone in this room understands,” the president said. “Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understanding, both between countries and within countries.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
- Obamas, Bidens jetting off to warm resorts for mini-vacations
- Obama, first lady to promote access to student loans
- CPAC 2014: McConnell works to reassure conservatives
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Obama urges Putin in phone call: De-escalate crisis in Ukraine
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- MILLER: Donald Trump says hes a Tea Party member
- Couple from Ethiopia begin new life in Dubuque
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again