THAT OPEN MIKE – AT 9:12 A.M. ET: That open mike flap involving President Obama and outgoing Russian President Medvedev continues to have repercussions. Karl Rove believes it can damage Obama in the general election, and possibly cost him a second term:
President Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”
President Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
President Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
President Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Captured by open microphones, President Barack Obama’s private conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday in Seoul could have a big negative impact on Mr. Obama’s re-election.
By telling Mr. Medvedev and his patron, the once-and-future Russian President Vladimir Putin, that he will have “flexibility” after the American election on Russian demands opposing a US missile defense for Europe, Mr. Obama is in effect saying he is ready to do something the Russians will like but that the American people won’t.
Mr. Obama has shown Russian leaders, and now the entire world, weakness.
He’s willing to bend to the demands of America’s international rivals as long as his appeasement becomes public only after he’s safely back in the White House for a second term. But he is apparently unwilling to share with the American people his “flexibility” with the Russians, perhaps concerned about the criticism such concessions to Moscow might draw from America’s European allies.
The effects of Mr. Obama’s remarks in Seoul go beyond foreign affairs. If the president believes it is important to his reelection to conceal from Americans his response to Russians demands to halt development of a missile defense for Europe, voters have every right to ask: What other surprises does he plan to spring on us if he’s reelected?
COMMENT: That's a good question, and it should be asked. But will it? Rove is onto something, I think, but he makes the point that Republicans must learn to exploit the president's blunder:
This won’t all happen by itself. To make the most of Mr. Obama’s statement, Republicans will need to raise it again and again in speeches, ads, videos and debates.
And that means learning to deal with the mainstream media's relentless pro-Obama spin. I could barely believe my ears yesterday when CNN reported Mitt Romney's critical reaction to Obama's slip, but then turned it around as a net loss for Romney...because Medvedev issued a statement criticizing him. In other words, it's a net loss for a candidate if the president of a hostile country criticizes that candidate. Amazing. The sixties are really here again.
I believe that, if Obama is re-elected, it will because of press bias, as it was in 2008. The Republicans must learn what Reagan taught – how to speak over the heads of the journalists and directly to the American people. The president has provided an opening with an outrageous example of his duplicity. Republicans must slam through it.
March 27, 2012