Obama and Sarkozy Dis Netanyahu on Hot Mic
Obama to Sarkozy on Netanyahu: "You're sick of him -- but I have to deal with him every day!"
Not shockingly, both President Obama and his French counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy are frustrated with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The extent of that frustration was captured inadvertently at last week’s G20 Summit.
Politico’s Ben Smith (“On a hot mic (or not), no love for Bibi“):
They’re just waking up in Paris, so it’s understandable that a White House spokesman I reached just now didn’t have any comment in the report in a French publication that Presidents Obama and Sarkozy had been overheard by a half-dozen reporters during the G20 — a hot mic, or perhaps hot interpreter, error attributed to a technical mistake on the French side. [As I read it, reporters plugged their own headsets into boxes giving them access to the interpreted conversation, to which the organizers hadn’t yet handed out headsets.]
The report is utterly believable — that’s actually the most suspicious thing about it. If you I were going to imagine, it might be about how irritating both find Benjamin Netanyahu, with Sarkozy bluntly calling him a liar, and Obama seeming to sympathize, but not quite showing his cards: “You’re sick of him — but I have to deal with him every day!”
This is, if confirmed, the sort of thing that made up most of the WikiLeaks dossier scandals: Things that are widely understood, but not supposed to be spoken aloud. It would not be likely to warm up the U.S.-Israeli relationship that’s become an election-year irritant to a White House with its eye on Florida.
The original report says a half-dozen — apparently, though not explicitly, French — reporters heard the conversation, but that they and their bosses jointly decided not to report off the glitch, on the grounds that to do so would mark some sort of ethical breach, something I don’t quite understand. The report also claims that the substance turned up in a Le Monde report asserting, without a source, Obama and Sarkozy had complained in private about their “difficult relations” with Netanyahu.
Surely, Netanyahu knows he’s regarded as a giant pain in the ass. Indeed, one imagines he revels in it. That won’t stop him from gaining whatever leverage he can out of this faux pas.