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Obama seeks to defuse controversy over "open mic" missile remarks

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 00:58

March 27 - U.S. President Barack Obama responds to questions about the ''open mic'' incident in which he told the Russian President he would have more flexibility to deal with arms issues after the U.S. election. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATON Speaking from the Seoul global nuclear security summit U.S. President Barack Obama explains progress with Russia on the issue of missile defence is unlikely until after the November U.S. elections. He defended remarks caught on camera the day before with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to deal with contentious arms-control issues after the November 6 ballot. The "open mic" exchange had come as Obama and Medvedev were huddled together on the eve of the summit, unaware that their words were being picked up as reporters were entering the room. The comments have drawn flack from his Republican opponents, but Obama maintained his comments reflect a political reality that "everybody understands". (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "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. And when you think about the New Start Treaty that Dmitry and I were able to hammer out and ultimately get ratified, that was a painstaking two-year process. I don't think it's any surprise that you can't start that a few months before a presidential and congressional elections in the United States, and at a time when they just completed elections in Russia and they're in the process of a presidential transition where a new president is going to be coming in a little less than two months." U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield have strained relations between Washington and Moscow despite Obama's "reset" in ties between the former Cold War foes. Obama's Republican opponents have accused him of being too open to concessions to Russia on the issue.

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Obama seeks to defuse controversy over "open mic" missile remarks

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 00:58