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Obama asks Russia to cut him slack until reelection

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Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for (Putin) to give me space.

Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir (Putin).

Russian experts say there's little doubt the Kremlin would like to see Obama re-elected. Official Moscow has been pleased by Obama's policy of "resetting" relations between Russia and the US, which resulted in the new START treaty and other cooperation breakthroughs after years of diplomatic chill while George W. Bush was president.

The Russian media often covers Obama's lineup of Republican presidential challengers in tones of horror, and there seems to be a consensus among Russian pundits that a Republican president would put a quick end to the Obama-era thaw in relations.

"The Republicans are active critics of Russia, and they are extremely negative toward Putin and his return to the presidency," says Dmitry Babich, a political columnist with the official RIA-Novosti news agency. "Democrats are perceived as more easygoing, more positive toward Russia and Putin."

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