Obama Tells Medvedev: I'll Have Free Hand After Election

Monday, 26 Mar 2012 10:00 AM

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President Barack Obama was caught on tape telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to handle controversial issues after he is re-elected.

Microphones picked up the exchange as reporters entered the room where the leaders gave their remarks, ABC News reported.

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama said.

Medvedev then interjected, “I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you . . . ,” Obama noted, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Medvedev promised to carry the information to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who will return to the post of Russian president in May.

A senior administration official told ABC News that “this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections — this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.”

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