Reporter's Note: The president is talking world affairs. I’m writing my daily letter to the White House. So we’re both busy.
Dear Mr. President,
Ah, caught by the old open mic trick! I couldn’t believe it. There you were on video, leaning in close to chat up Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, and suggesting that your actual thoughts about NATO missile defense plans are different than what you are saying publically…because you are facing re-election.
Maybe you didn’t mean it. Maybe you were pulling a fast one on old Dmitri; a little maneuver that will henceforth be called the Moscow Monte; maybe we all misinterpreted what you said. But it sure doesn’t look that way.
To the contrary, in a few short words, you managed to give the impression that you trust the Russians more than you do American voters. I’m no campaign strategist, but I suspect that is a bad move. Talk about tossing a softball to the Republicans! Slip up like that a few times and you may not have to worry about re-election.
Your actions surprised me for two reasons. First, because with all your chops as the big tech-savvy president with your special kryptonite BlackBerry, White House websites, and uber quick Twitter thumbs, I thought you’d be the last person to overlook the presence of a hot microphone. Have you not seen how many people have strayed into minefields that way?
And second, precisely because we are in the middle of a campaign, I would have expected you to be more careful; to unveil any such change in your foreign policy ideas to your own countrymen and our NATO allies before giving the Russians a wink and a nod with the cameras rolling.
I’m willing to listen if you can explain why you did this, so give me a call if you have a moment. I must warn you, however, it’s going to be a tough sell. And I suspect you’ll find that to be the case with a lot of Americans who are puzzled at best, and upset at worst by even the suspicion that you are not shooting straight with us about your plans on something you yourself have called pretty important.
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