Amidst all the accusations of who should have done what to discourage Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine, nearly forgotten is that emblematic moment when then-president Barack Obama was caught on a hot mic in this very cozy conversation with Dmitry Medvedev:
Obama: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense…it’s important for him to give me space.”
Medvedev: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you …”
Obama: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev: “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir [Putin].”
In other words, as long as I’m running for office I can say one thing; but once elected, I can do something else, something more amenable to Putin and Russian interests. That hot mic moment was used for one of the best political ads ever made, “Operation Hot Mic.”
Contrary to the press’ current burning interest in Russian connections, it barely covered the incident at the time. A google search on this reveals that of the top six stories on it from 2012, four were in conservative publications (Washington Times, Telegraph, Breitbart, Fox News) and just two were in liberal publications (ABC, CNN) and not even as news stories but as minor blog posts. It’s almost like there’s some kind of double standard.