Daily Israel Report

Romney Moves to Profit from Sarkozy-Obama Exchange

Mitt Romney seized on unkind words between Sarkozy and Obama about Israel's Prime Minister in his courtship of the Jewish vote.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 11/9/2011, 7:23 PM

GOP nomination contender Mitt Romney continued wooing Jewish voters upset with the Obama administration's policy towards Israel, this time saying US President Barack Obama had proven his disdain for the 'special relationship' between Israel and the United States.

Romney seized on media reports French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Obama had exchanged unkind words about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make his point.

Sarkozy was caught on an open microphone saying of Netanyahu: “I can’t stand to see him anymore, he’s a liar.”

To which Obama replied, “You are fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day.”

In a statement Teusday, Romney questioned Obama’s commitment to Israel.

“President Obama’s derisive remarks about Israel’s prime minister confirm what any observer would have gleaned from his public statements and actions toward our longstanding ally, Israel,” the Republican presidential candidate said.

“At a moment when the Jewish state is isolated and under threat, we cannot have an American president who is disdainful of our special relationship with Israel. We have here yet another reason why we need new leadership in the White House," Romney added.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday refused to confirm the conversation took place, instead trying to shore up Obama's street credit with Jewish voters by focusing on the promised US veto for the PA statehood bid at the United Nations.

“I don’t have any comment on the specific conversation. What I can say more broadly is that this president’s position has been quite clear on the issue of efforts by the Palestinians to achieve through the United Nations what can only be achieved effectively through direct negotiations,” Carney said.

“And the president believes very firmly that both sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, need to take those steps that bring them closer together to direct negotiations and not ones that make it harder to have that happen.”

Romney has been working hard to cultivate support among Jewish voters—and has tapped into a network of Jewish bundlers who backed President George W. Bush and 2008 nominee John McCain.

In September, he held a major fundraiser in New York, cosponsored by at least 40 Jewish Romney supporters, each of whom gave $10,000 apiece.