SEOUL, South Korea - President Obama made light Tuesday of the hot microphone moment he had the day earlier with Russian President Medvedev, where he said that after the November election, he’d have more "flexibility" on the issue of missile defense.
Just as leaders were greeting one another and about to sit down at the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit, Obama spotted Medvedev, looks over at him, puts his hands over the microphone in front of him with a big smile, and then goes to greet the Russian president.
Obama was asked about the “flexibility” statement later while making remarks to the press about a nuclear safety agreement, and said “Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong basis of understanding both between countries as well as within countries.”
The open microphone comments he made Monday after a bilateral meeting with Medvedev happened right as journalists were being let into the room.
Obama could be heard saying, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.”
Medvedev responds in English, “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
Obama then brings up a frank statement about timing and what he can get done, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev replies, “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” a reference to the next Russian President-elect Valdimir Putin