House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took a slight dig Tuesday at Mitt Romney for criticizing President Obama while the president was out of the country.
Boehner suggested it was inappropriate for Romney, the front-running GOP presidential contender, to take aim at Obama's exchange with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, when Obama signaled to his outgoing Russian counterpart after a meeting in South Korea that he would have more "flexibility" to negotiate on missile defense after this fall's elections.
"Clearly while the president is overseas, he's at a conference and while the president is overseas I think it's appropriate that people not be critical of him or our country," Boehner said in response to a question from NBC News about whether he agreed with Romney's assessment that Russia is the "number one geopolitical foe" of the United States.
Romney was quick to seize Monday on Obama's comments to Medvedev.
“Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage, and for this president to be looking for greater flexibility, where he doesn't have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia is very, very troubling, very alarming," the former Massachusetts governor said. "I'm very, very concerned."
GOP aides told NBC News that Boehner has long adhered to the principle that criticism of the president stops at the border’s edge while he’s abroad.
The speaker's office did flag a tweet for reporters on Monday, though, in which Boehner said he looked forward to hearing what Obama meant by the "flexibility" comment upon his return to the U.S.
In March of 2011, Boehner waited until Obama returned from Brazil before sending him a letter that was critical of his foreign policy in Libya.