To hear Vice President Joe Biden tell it, the flap over President Barack Obama's prediction of postelection "flexibility" with Russia says more about the inexperience and slipperiness of Republican candidate Mitt Romney than it does about the commander in chief.
Biden tells CBS' "Face the Nation" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Obama was merely "stating the obvious" when he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more latitude on missile defense after the November general election. The two presidents did not realize the exchange, during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea last weekend, was being picked up by a broadcast microphone.
GOP front-runner Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, called it "alarming" and part of a pattern of "breathtaking weakness" with America's foes. He asked what else Obama would be flexible on if he were to win a second term.
"Speaking of flexible, Gov. Romney's a pretty flexible guy on his positions," Biden said in the interview, taped Thursday from Milwaukee.
Biden also pointed to Romney's comment that Russia is America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe," calling that description "incredibly revealing."
"He just seems to be uninformed or stuck in a Cold War mentality," Biden said. "It exposes how little the governor knows about foreign policy."
The interview reflected the increasingly sharp attacks that Obama's re-election team has been aiming at Romney, and its belief that Romney will be Obama's challenger in November.
Biden said he would be surprised if Romney weren't the nominee, though he added, "I've been surprised by this whole Republican primary process."
He also used Obama's open-mike incident to poke fun at himself. "I know a little bit about unguarded moments with microphones," Biden said, remembering his off-color whispered observation to Obama that his health care overhaul was a really "big ... deal."