Mitchell Reports | March 19, 2013
>>> critics of president obama on both sides of the aisle repeatedly say his inability to forge relationships has prevented progress on a number of fronts, the president has described his working relationship with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu as business-like. the president's first visit to israel as commander-in-chief begins tomorrow. presenting him with a chance to turn up the charm in tel aviv and jerusalem. this week gives president obama and prime minister netanyahu the opportunity to show the world their relationship has room to grow. and both men are ready to take positive steps for the florida congresswoman debby wasserman-schultz chairs the democratic national committee , is in israel and joins me now.
>> thanks, luke.
>> there's criticism thrown at president obama , even from prominent jewish democrats, the latd ed koch , who said president obama had let the very important relationship with israel deteriorate. as one of the highest-ranking jewish democrats in the united states . how important is it for president obama to have a successful visit in israel ?
>> the late ed koch endorsed president obama 's re-election. this is an important opportunity to reaffirm and celebrate the incredible and historic relationship that the united states and israel have. president obama will travel there, and it was important to make sure that as the first overseas trip he's making in his second term that he go there and reach out to the future of the israeli people . talk with, with university students and young people . see the historic connection to the lands that the israeli people have. make sure that he focuses on the future. seeing the innovation and the success that israel has had in their economy. in short, this is an incredible opportunity to reaffirm our relationship with the israeli people . and also to make sure we can have our president sit down with the prime minister for some important discussions about how to move the peace process forward. and get the two parties back to the discussion table.
>> how important is iran when it comes to this visit? obviously president obama has a very ambitious domestic agenda. he wants to see immigration reform , perhaps some gun control measures moving forward. perhaps a big debt deal. all of those things would seem to go to the back burner if there was some sort of engagement in iran . is there any worry amongst house democrats, specifically, that the president could promise here some full-on support for an israeli air strike to iran , that could have dire implications for a domestic agenda here at home.
>> we have the closest military intelligence cooperation with israel that we've ever had. you almost don't know where the israeli leadership begins and we're working on preventing iran from achieving their ambition of a nuclear weapon every single day together. so it's not like when the president gets there, he's going to first begin a dialogue with the prime minister and israeli leadership about how to accomplish that. we're at the table with them working side by side every single day. this is a way to continue those discussions and make sure that it's clear, and that we work together and leave all of those options on the table. because making sure that they never achieve the goal is essential.
>> congresswoman debby wasserman schultz of florida we appreciate you joining