Obama: I’m not ‘hiding the ball’ on defense shield talks with Russia

President Obama denied Tuesday that he is “hiding the ball” when it comes to negotiating with Russia over U.S. plans for a defense shield, saying his positions on the issue are “on record.”

A day after a live microphone picked up a private conversation where he asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for “space” and “patience” on the missile defense issue until after November’s election, Obama sought to clarify his remarks and make his position known.

“I think everybody understands — if they don’t, they haven’t been listening to my speeches — that I want to reduce nuclear stockpiles,” Obama said Tuesday, on the final day of a nuclear security summit in South Korea. “And one of the barriers to doing that is building trust and cooperation around missile defense issues. And so this is not a matter of hiding the ball.”

Obama added, “[T]he only way I get this stuff done is if I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support, and frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations.

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