GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann called on President Obama to apologize for comments critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which were caught on an open microphone at an international summit last week.
“Today we learned in word what we have already seen from President Obama through his actions, his lack of commitment to the nation of Israel. When the president complains about his relationship derisively with the prime minister as ‘Having to deal with him every day,’ it is apparent that he is not committed to our ally Israel,” Bachmann said following a fundraiser for the South Carolina GOP in Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday.
“I call on the president to immediately apologize to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and he should demonstrate leadership and demand that the French president do the same,” she said. Obama and Sarkozy did not know a conversation they had last Thursday at the G-20 summit was being listened to by reporters in another room, transmitted by an open microphone used for simultaneous translation.
I can’t look at [Netanyahu] anymore, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama, the French media website Arret Sur Images reported.
“You’ve had enough of him, but I have to deal with him every day,” Obama is said to have responded.
The conversation was not recorded, but today a Reuters reporter confirmed the incident.
“President Obama has been leading from behind in the Middle East and has put daylight between the United States and Israel in asking them to retreat to their 1967 indefensible borders. And now he has put Israel further at risk, but allowing Iran the time to get closer to obtaining nuclear weapons as we learned from the IAEA just yesterday,” Bachmann said. “The President shouldn’t be complaining about ‘dealing’ with the Israeli’s every day, he should be fostering our relationship with the country that has been our longstanding ally and the one true democracy in the region. From the day I am elected president, I will stand with Israel and will make it clear that the United States will have Israel’s back.”
Bachmann’s comments came after a speech primarily about the economy. Twice in that speech, however, she referenced America’s Judeo-Christian roots. Earlier Tuesday, Bachmann gave an exclusive interview to ABC News and Yahoo!, for the “Newsmaker” series. In that interview, she voiced her strong support for the Jewish state.
“As president of the United States I will stand with Israel,” Bachmann said in an interview today with ABC News/Yahoo. “I will not do as this president has done and put daylight between the United States and Israel. That was a foolish decision.”
At the SCGOP fundraiser, Bachmann stressed that what sets her tax plan apart from all the other candidates is her belief that everyone must pay some income tax, no matter how poor they are.