Did Obama call Netanyahu 'a pain in the a**'?

November 6, 2013 19:12

US president made comment during 2012 US election campaign, Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilmann reveals.

US President Obama, PM Netanyahu at White House

US President Obama with PM Netanyahu at White House 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

US President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “a pain in the ass” during a White House campaign meeting some six months before Obama came to Israel and reset his relationship with Netanyahu, according to a new book on the 2012 US presidential election.

Veteran political reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann wrote in their newly released book Double Down that at a campaign meeting in the White House on September 30 Obama talked about Israel and the Palestinians.

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“We all know that Bibi Netanyahu is a pain in the ass, Obama said,” according to the book. “But the president blamed himself for accepting the distorted political prism through which every effort to achieve a settlement in the region was mediated.”

There is only one other brief reference to Netanyahu in the 499-page book. In 2010 the two journalists published a bestselling book about the 2008 presidential campaign called Game Change.

The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment.

The Netanyahu-Obama relationship, described frequently during Obama’s first term as “dysfunctional,” took a dramatic turn for the better when Obama came to Israel in March. The comments in the book attributed to Obama took place during a time of tension between the two leaders, with Netanyahu publicly chiding Obama for not drawing a redline on Iran, and at a time of numerous reports claiming Netanyahu was supporting Obama’s challenger Mitt Romney.

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