The open microphone comments he made Monday after a bilateral meeting with Medvedev happened right as journalists were being let into the room.
Obama could be heard saying, "On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it's important for him to give me space."
Medvedev responds in English, "Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you..."
Obama then brings up a frank statement about timing and what he can get done, "This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."
Medvedev replies, "I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir," a reference to the next Russian President-elect Valdimir Putin.
Building up missile defense in Europe, which the U.S. is for, and Russia is against, has been an issue of contention between the two countries.