In March of 2012, while President Obama was taking part in a global nuclear security summit in South Korea, he was caught on tape asking for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for “space.” “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama implored. Obama assured the departing Russian President he will have the “flexibility” required to deal with missile defense issues after the 2012 presidential election.

As a pool of television journalists listened for details of the leaders’ meeting, Mr. Obama leaned in to deliver private assurances to Mr. Medvedev. But speaking into an open microphone, he inadvertently offered a rare and frank assessment of the difficulty of reaching a deal — on this or any subject — in an election year. “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Mr. Obama could be heard saying to Mr. Medvedev, according a reporter from ABC News, who was traveling with the president. CONTINUE