Back in March Barack Obama met with then Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and as they were discussing what they thought was a private conversation the microphones picked up that Obama wanted Medvedev to communicate to Putin that he needed "space" until "after my election" when "I have more flexibility." Well now, Obama is attempting to clarify those comments, one week before the U.S. elections.

Previously the comments between Medvedev were as follows:

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

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

“The discussion there very much just had to do with the fact that it’s hard to negotiate additional treaties when I’m off campaigning and doing all kinds of stuff,” Obama said on Friday, explaining his open-mic comments with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev back in March of this year.

During an interview with News 4 KRNV in Reno, Nevada audience members were allowed to ask questions of the President.

One audience member asked, “What did you mean when you said you will have more flexibility after the election when you thought you were off-mic with Dmitry Medvedev? Why is having more latitude after the elections significant?”

“This was specifically about how we deal with Russia and nuclear arms," he said. "We’ve been able to negotiate a nuclear arms deal that reduced levels of nuclear arms both in Russia and in the United States and that’s something that was ratified on a bipartisan basis in the United States Senate.”

“The discussion there very much just had to do with the fact that it’s hard to negotiate additional treaties when I’m off campaigning and doing all kinds of stuff,” said Obama.

“At the time, Mr. Putin was still putting together a new government because he had just been reelected," he continued. "And so, when you’re negotiating between major nuclear powers about something of so much importance you want to make sure that everybody’s focused.”

“I think everybody recognizes that 20 years after the Cold War that it’s important for us to see if we can continue to reduce the levels of nuclear threat around the world,” Obama said. “Part of that is us negotiating treaties to reduce the reliance on nuclear weapons. Part of it is also making sure that we keep nuclear arms out of the hands of nations like Iran.”

“And that’s something that I’ve helped to organize around the world, toughest sanctions on Iran ever, to make sure that they don’t get nuclear weapons,” he said. “And as I indicated last week, and as I’ve indicated for months now, Iran’s not going to get a nuclear weapon on my watch.”

There is no question that what was being discussed was in the context of missile defense. However, Obama's unwillingness to used missile defense systems and a willingness to have "more flexibility" regarding "additional treaties" presumably regarding missile defense is troubling.

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