Boehner to Obama: Explain ‘troubling’ hot-mic comments on missile defense

One day after he declined to speak against the president, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) joined Republicans in criticizing President Obama for his comments on missile defense to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

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Republicans have hammered Obama for three days for asking Medvedev for “space” on missile defense and saying he’d have more “flexibility” after the election, accusing the president of saying one thing and doing another.

But Boehner on Tuesday did not endorse criticism from GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.

“When the president is overseas, I think it’s appropriate that people not be critical of him or our country,” he told reporters Tuesday.

Obama returned from the South Korean nuclear summit on Tuesday evening, and the House Speaker’s letter to Obama on Wednesday said he was “alarmed” at the president's message to Medvedev.

“It is troubling that you would suggest to Russian leaders that their reckless ambition would be rewarded with greater ‘flexibility’ on our missile defense program after the upcoming election,” Boehner wrote.

“That has significant implications for the security of our homeland, sends a terrible signal to our allies around the world and calls into question the effectiveness of your ‘reset’ policy with the Russian government,” he said.

Boehner’s letter is at least the third that Republicans in Congress have sent to the White House since Obama's comments were captured by a live microphone on Monday. Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) sent one Monday, and 43 Republican senators led by Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to the president Tuesday.

Like those letters, Boehner’s took issue with the notion that Obama would make concessions to the Russians without consulting with Congress.

“As you know, the House has passed legislation prohibiting the administration from making any agreements to diminish our missile defense capacity absent congressional authorization or treaty,” Boehner wrote. “This is an imperative upon which we continue to insist.”

Boehner also touched on a theme that some Republicans are hoping to turn into a narrative questioning whether there’s a wide range of issues that Obama will be “flexible” on when he doesn’t have to worry about elections.

“A post-election surprise on this critical issue would not be welcomed by the American people, the Congress, or the world community,” Boehner wrote.