Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama’s slam of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into an open microphone “indicative of the attitude and policies that this administration has had towards Israel.”
Reporters heard Obama trading swipes with French President Nicolas Sarkozy about Netanyahu at the recent G20 summit.
“I happen to be a great admirer of Prime Minister Netanyahu,” McCain said on “Fox and Friends”
today. “I’ve known him for years, and Israel is under more pressure and probably in more danger than they’ve been since the ’67 war and that kind of comment is not only not helpful, but indicative of some of the policies towards Israel that this administration has been part of.
“The French have always been like that. In fact, their vote in the United Nations recently indicates that.”
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Several media outlets have chronicled an incident in which reporters heard Obama asking Sarkozy to help persuade the Palestinians to stop their efforts to gain U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state.
Sarkozy reportedly told Obama, "Netanyahu, I can't stand him. He's a liar."
Obama then reportedly responded: “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”
The White House has declined to comment about an audio tape of the incident, according to Fox News, which quoted Press Secretary Jay Carney’s refusal to confirm the gaffe. But the president's "very firm position" has been that efforts to achieve U.N. membership by the Palestinians were "premature and counterproductive" to the goal of Mideast peace.
Carney added that the president believes very firmly that Israelis and Palestinians need to take steps that bring them together for direct negotiations and not make it harder to happen.
Several reporters apparently overheard the conversation between the world leaders but agreed not to report on it based on French media tradition.
McCain also told Fox that he "would probably fire some aides who allowed that to happen," and went on to describe Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts as "anything but a total failure on the part of this administration."
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