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.
“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
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.