- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
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.
- Skeptics on all sides take aim of John Kerry's tentative deal on Ukraine
- Obama commutes drug dealer's sentence because of clerical error
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- Obama calls for prayer on anniversary of Boston Marathon bombing
- Obama urges Putin to defuse Russian separatism 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
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Glenn Beck takes on Hollywood with big movie production plans
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.