Medvedev Tells Romney to 'Use Head'

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told Mitt Romney on Tuesday to use his head and stop reverting to Hollywood stereotypes after the U.S. presidential hopeful branded Moscow as Washington's top foe.

"I recommend that all U.S. presidential candidates, including the candidate you mention (Romney), do at least two things," Medvedev told Russian reporters on the sidelines of a nuclear security conference in Seoul.

"That they use their head and consult their reason when they formulate their positions, and that they check the time -- it is now 2012, not the mid-1970s," said the outgoing Russian president in comments broadcast on state television.

Medvedev said Romney's quip "smelled of Hollywood" because it typecast Moscow as Washington's main enemy from the Cold War era just like in the popular spy movie thrillers of the time.

"As for ideological clichés, I always get nervous when one side or the other starts using phrases such as 'enemy number one' and so on," Medvedev said.

Romney had roundly criticized Obama on Monday for getting caught by an open mike making a controversial promise to Medvedev about missile defense.

Obama appeared to suggest at the Seoul meeting that he was ready to make a concession on the issue if he wins the November presidential election.

Romney told CNN in a transcript released by the station that Obama should understand that "Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage" because it has old ties to the governments of Syria and Iran.

Russia "is without question our number one geopolitical foe," Romney said.

It is unusual for world leaders to get involved in a foreign state's elections and the foreign ministry quickly moved to make light of Romney's "emotional statement."

Romney's biting quip was dictated "by the particular demands of political battle," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

But the comment quickly became the number one topic on Russian news sites and the subject of angry whispers in the Kremlin-controlled State Duma lower house of parliament.

The Republicans "simply do not want to understand that the United States is not the whole universe," the Duma's foreign affairs committee chief Alexei Pushkov wrote on the ruling United Russia party website.

"It seems that despite suffering political defeats in Iraq and about to suffer one in Afghanistan, and despite losing the last presidential elections, the Republicans have not learned a thing," the close Kremlin ally said.

Russian lawmakers -- with memories still fresh of the diplomatic battles waged in the Ronald Reagan era and more friendly ties enjoyed under Bill Clinton in the 1990s -- often take a partisan approach to U.S. politics.

Most analysts in Moscow believe that Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin will have better chance of establishing close relations with Obama than Romney.

Yet some Russian politicians appeared to take Romney's comments to heart.

"The discussion of Russian relations in the course of the U.S. election campaign only underscores our country's importance on the international arena," said the Duma security committee chief Irina Yarova.

Communist Party lawmakers meanwhile said Romney was only revealing an open secret about the true state of Russia-U.S. affairs.

"We are still geopolitical foes and this only confirms this," Communist MP Leonid Kalashnikov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Comments 1
Thumb benzona 27 March 2012, 21:52

Looks like Obama will be continuing what he started 4 years ago.... The competition is lame.