Trans-Mitt: Obama jokes off hot mic heat

Barack Obama has steamrolled over Republicans and the “ABM flexibility” scandal they inspired, laughing off last week’s incident in which a sensitive talk with Russia’s President Medvedev was picked up on a hot mic and made public.

­The conversation between the US and Russian presidents last Monday sparked a wave of criticism, particularly on the part of the Republican senators. In it, Obama said “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” Medvedev promised to “transmit the information to Vladimir,” meaning Russian President-elect Putin.

Some Republican presidential candidate-hopefuls accused Barack Obama of surrendering America’s ABM interests to the Kremlin.

Then came time for Obama to strike back. He began a traditional annual meeting with newspaper editors at the Associated Press with a joke, saying that it was a pleasure to speak to the audience over a microphone he “can see”.

He told the audience that during the ongoing presidential campaign in the US, the media will love to cover the “gaffes and minor controversies” of the candidates.

"Clearly, we're already in the beginning months of another long, lively election year. There will be gaffes and minor controversies, be hot mics and Etch-a-Sketch moments. You will cover every word that we say, and we will complain vociferously about the unflattering words that you write – unless, of course, you're writing about the other guy – in which case, good job!” the president quipped.

Obama reported about his achievements as president and said that whoever the next president is, he will “inherit an economy that is recovering, but not yet recovered, from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.”

Obama’s speech was rich in provocative remarks aimed towards the Republicans.

The Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down, and are advocating a budget so far to the right it makes “the Contract with America look like the New Deal,” Obama declared.

The new House Republican budget, however, proposes massive new cuts in annual domestic spending, the area where most cuts have already been made, Obama recalled.

He went so far as to call the Congressional Republican budget a “Trojan Horse” that attempts attempt to impose a radical vision under disguise of deficit reduction.

“It is thinly-veiled Social Darwinism,” Obama leveled, “antithetical to the entire history of America as a land of opportunity.”

The proposed budget has not only got the Republican Party’s support, it essentially became the party’s governing platform, Obama evaluated. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has even proposed the plan be “introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency.”

During a question-and-answer session, Barack Obama told newspaper editors that President Ronald Reagan was forced to cut spending and raise taxes in the 1980s multiple times and “is not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist” for that.

If Reagan were running for presidency today, he would not be able to withstand competition from the current Republican primary candidate Mitt Romney, Obama believes.

“[Reagan] could not get through a Republican primary today.”