Netanyahu Tells NBC's Gregory 'You're Trying to Throw Me Under the Bus of American Politics'
NBC's David Gregory on Sunday did his darnedest to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say Israel has had no better friend in the White House than President Obama.
As the "Meet the Press" host continued to force the issue, Netanyahu finally said, "David, you're trying to throw me under the bus of American politics. And guess what, I'm not going to be thrown there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: Back in 2002, you said Israel has had no better friend in the White House than George W. Bush. Would you say the same about President Obama?
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: They've all been great friends of Israel. You know why?
MR. GREGORY: You said, "No better friend in the White House than George W. Bush."
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: When did I say that?
MR. GREGORY: 2002 on this program.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: OK. Well, they keep moving. They keep adding new people to--you know, that's the peculiar thing about our system, the leaders, the leaders keep changing.
MR. GREGORY: So George W. Bush and President Obama are equivalent in your mind.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: God, I'm not going...
MR. GREGORY: I'm asking--no, but I'm asking you a serious question.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I'm not going to start ranking. I'll tell you what, they're all...
MR. GREGORY: You did rank. But, Prime Minister, you did rank. And you said that America was behind you; and, in fact, this has been a frosty relationship between this administration and your administration. And the reality is that there's politics in this country and a presidential campaign. Just this week, you had Mitt Romney, a Republican, say of Obama that he threw Israel under the bus. Rick Perry described Obama's Middle East policy as naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous. Do you disagree with those statements?
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: David, you're trying to throw me under the bus of American politics. And guess what, I'm not going to be thrown there. So I'll tell you what...
MR. GREGORY: You didn't mind disagreeing with President Clinton's analysis this week about the Middle East.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Sure.
MR. GREGORY: Do you disagree with these Republican candidates?
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PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: I think the important thing to understand is this, and, and this is the truth about America, Israel enjoys tremendous bipartisan support, tremendous. And, and, and, you know, you just have to walk around the breadth and length of this country, it's--or fly, it's a big country--and everywhere you go, you see this tremendous, tremendous sympathy and affinity for Israel. This is what, I think, is one of the great blessings that Israel has in the, in the 21st century. So--and I think that bipartisan support is expressed by any person who happens to be the president of the United States...
MR. GREGORY: Are you concerned that partisanship is being injected into this?
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: ...including President Obama. Every one of the U.S. presidents represents and acts on the tremendous innate friendship of the American people to Israel. And by the way, a piece of news, Israel is the one country in which everyone is pro-American, opposition and coalition alike. And I represent the entire people of Israel who say, "Thank you, America." And we're friends of America, and we're the only reliable allies of America in the Middle East.
So why did Gregory think it was important to act as the Obama administration's emissary to improve relations between the White House and one of America's strongest allies?
Is it possible he's concerned that Jewish support for Obama is plummeting, and he felt he needed to get Netanyahu on the record as saying something positive about the President that could reverse this?
As NewsBusters previously reported, Gregory told GOP strategist Alex Castellanos last Sunday, "Republicans have been talking about the Jewish vote going Republican for a long time. It never happens."
Was Gregory a week later trying to help make that a self-fulfilling prophecy?
You have to admit that irrespective of his declining poll numbers, it must be a great comfort for Obama to know that he's got friends like the host of "Meet the Press" always looking out for him.