Mitt Romney told thousands of Pennsylvania Republicans on a conference call this evening that a remark by President Obama to the Russian president suggests he's keeping things from them.
While traveling overseas this week, Obama was overheard telling President Dmitri Medvedev during a discussion of missile defense that "after my election I have more flexibility." Romney quickly criticized the president, saying the exchange, picked up by a live microphone, was revealing.
During a telephone town hall meeting this evening with 14,500 Pennsylvania Republicans, the GOP frontrunner said the overheard remark was so problematic it should drive voters' decisions in the general election.
"This really ought to form the basis of what people are thinking about as they go to the polls in November," he said. "That this president has an agenda that's very different from the one he will communicate to people who are voting."
"We simply can't trust what he's saying is the full explanation of what he's actually planning on doing," he continued.
Obama told reporters after the incident that the highly politicized environment of election-year Washington would make it difficult to resolve differences with Russia on arms control.
On the conference call, Romney asked listeners to vote for him in the April 24 primary election and promised he would campaign across the state. Between questions, a staff member told listeners they could indicate their support by dialing "1" on their phones.
The Romney campaign has opened a Pennsylvania office, complete with three staffers, in downtown Harrisburg.
One questioner, a Greensburg man who described himself as a World War II veteran, told Romney he had written Newt Gingrich's name onto the ballot in the last election because he believes the former House speaker supports the Constitution. When the man asked how Romney feels about the founding document, the candidate responded by praising the 2nd and 10th amendments.
"Ernest, I have to tell you, as I look at the challenges we have as a nation, I think many of those challenges have arisen because we've strayed from the principles of the Constitution," he said.