Barney Frank: Obama Made 'Mistake' In Asking Russia to Give Him Space During Election Year

By Thomas Cloud | March 28, 2012 | 6:35 PM EDT

FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2010 file photo, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. applauds at the Interior Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

( - Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) says that President Obama made “a mistake” when he pleaded with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in front of an open microphone, Obama to ask incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin to give Obama "space" on missile defense and other issues until after the November U.S. presidential election because Obama would have more "flexibility" after that.

But Frank said it would be "hypocritical" for members of Congress to launch an investigation of Obama over the incident.

At the U.S. Capitol Tuesday, asked Frank: "What did you make of those (Obama’s) comments?"

Frank, who is retiring from Congress said: "It was a mistake, he should be more careful. I think it was no surprise." then asked: "No surprise. Is there--do you think Congress would consider investigating if there were any -- "

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Frank, interrupting, replied: “Of course not. That a member of Congress would be shocked that an elected official said that he might be able to approach an issue somewhat differently after the election? How hypocritical would members of Congress be to act shocked about that? That was a conversation that members of Congress have with each other regularly on the floor of the House and Senate.”

On Monday, Obama was caught on videotape telling Medvedev that this was his “last election” and that “after my election, I have more flexibility.”

Obama, who was apparently unaware that the microphone was live and the conversation was being recorded, said Tuesday that, "This is not a matter of hiding the ball" – a reference to allegations that he was hiding his true intentions on making possible concessions to the Russians on a nuclear missile shield until after the election.

At least one member of Congress, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), has called for a congressional investigation. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, meanwhile, called Obama's comments "alarming" and "troubling."