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Obama tells Medvedev he will have "more flexibility" after election

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Published on Jul 30, 2015

(26 Mar 2012) 1. Wide shot of US President Barack Obama and outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at bilateral meeting
2. Cutaway of photographers
3. UPSOUND: (English) US President Barack Obama leaning over, talking to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
Obama: "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
Medvedev: "I understand. I transmit this (inaudible) to Vladimir." (muffled thereafter)
4. Pull out to wide shot of Obama and Medvedev
STORYLINE:
US President Barack Obama told his Russian counterpart on Monday that he would have more flexibility after the November election to deal with the contentious issue of missile defence, a candid assessment of political reality that was picked up by a microphone without either leader apparently knowing.
Outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would pass on Obama's message to his successor, Vladimir Putin, according to an audio recording of comments the two leaders made during a meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea.
Obama and Medvedev did not intend for their comments to be made public.
Once they were, the White House said Obama's words reflected the reality that domestic political concerns in the both the US and Russia this year would make it difficult to fully address their long-standing differences over missile defence.
Obama, should he win re-election, would not have to face voters again.
Tensions over missile defence have threatened to upend the overall thawing of relations between the US and Russia in recent years.
Both leaders acknowledged as much in their public statements to reporters following their meeting. Obama said there was "more work to do" to bridge their differences; Medvedev said each country had their own positions on missile defence, but there was still time to find a solution.


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