“This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
– President Obama, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, when Mr. Obama thought his microphone was off.
An unguarded comment is often quite revealing. So is this one.
It’s just that it’s hard to know what it reveals.
But it doesn’t sound like it’s anything good.
What does our president mean by telling a foreign leader that he has to lay low until after the election? That once the American people are taken care of, he can do what he really wants to do?
And that he has no intention of telling Americans what that is before the election?
Moreover, what does Mr. Obama have in mind for the nation’s missile defense system? And what will he do with that added “flexibility” once a lame duck?
The truth is, the country knows as little about this president’s past as any we’ve seen in modern times, and not very much at all about his future plans either. How would you characterize his stance, for instance, on North Korea? Or Iran? Or how to cut the deficit? Or Israel? Or, of course, Russia and missile defense? The list goes on.
His unguarded “hot mic” moment seems to suggest he wants to keep his intentions hidden from American voters, while giving vague encouragement to the Russian president. How odd and unsettling is that?
Mr. Obama later tried to laugh it off with a “hot mic” joke, but serious Americans shouldn’t be laughing. What other plans for “flexibility” does he have for a second term, when he’s untouchable by voters?
“This is no time for our president to be pulling punches with the American people,” Republican candidate Mitt Romney said in response, “and not telling us what he is intending to do with regards to our missile defense system, with regards to our military might, with regards to our commitment to Israel, and with regards our absolute conviction that Iran must have a nuclear weapon.”
“What other countries has he had this conversation with?” added GOP candidate Newt Gingrich.
You expect such challenges from the opposition party. But these are actually good questions on a troubling topic. What else is Mr. Obama holding back?