PoliticsNation | March 20, 2013
>> thanks, chris, and thanks to you for tuning in. president obama leads. he arrived in israel . a three- day trip where he will meet with israeli and palestinian leaders. for months, republicans attacked his leadership and cynically said this president doesn't care about one of our strongest allies. but what the world saw today was president obama leading on the world stage.
>> as beebee mentioned, this is our fourth meeting. america's support for israel 's security is unprecedented and the alliance between our nations has never been stronger. israel 's security is guaranteed because it has a great deal on its side, including unwavering support of the united states . we have your back.
>> we have your back. doesn't exactly fit the republican's effort to use obama 's diplomacy as a battery ram against him.
>> on israel , it's never been worse between the united states and israel .
>> you skipped israel but you went to the other nations and, by the way, they noticed that you skipped israel .
>> they see president obama and new york city the same day netanyahu does and instead goes on a daily talk show.
>> disrespectful of prime minister netanyahu ? really? let's hear what that man said today, the prime minister himself.
>> i want to thank you for the investment you have made in our relationship and in strengthening the friendship and appliance between our two countries. it is deeply, deeply appreciated.
>> in a visit important to our nation's security, the republican attacks against this president's foreign policy seemed puny, especially when the president and prime minister were actually laughing.
>> and i want to express a special thanks to sarah as well as your two sons for their warmth and hospitality. it was wonderful to see them. they are -- i did inform the prime minister that they are very good looking young men who clearly got their looks from their mother.
>> well, i can say the same of your daughters.
>> this is true. our goal is to improve our gene pool by marrying women better than we are.
>> this is the reality. the gop consistently tries to paint the president as someone that he isn't. they falsely accuse him of being anti-american, of being lazy, of being born in another court, and then comes the reality. today it was there for the world to see. joining me now is jim warren , washington bureau chief of "the new york daily news" and msnbc contribute are to, joy reid. thank you both for being here tonight.
>> thank you.
>> jim , iran, syria, the peace process , these are really tough issues. is the president trying to reset relations with the israeli government ?
>> you know, i think as much as anything, he's trying to slightly reset them with the general israeli public. one realizes that netanyahu knows what the deal is. they've met ten times? that's far more than he's met with putin, far more than the leaders with china and ironically more than some particular congressional leaders. but reputations and images, as you know, good and bad, are hard to lose. and here's a situation in which the image among both conservatives in this country and among the israeli public fly in the face of what are the facts. never in history on many levels, intelligence sharing, military aid , security information being shared has a relationship been any stronger than it is today and a little bit of news if you're listening to that press conference was that this significant military aid package that we have with israel that we give israel , looks like it's going to be extended by another ten years as of the year 2017 . now, that doesn't sound like mortal enemies at work. and when you look at what played out today and it wasn't just the joking about the good looking sons. it was also rather poignant moment right after that when he started reading some of the prime minister brother's writings and he teared up, the charm offensive, the genuine charm offensive that was of display today makes what is going on in washington and been chronicled with all of the congressmen almost look like mean-spirited backstabbing. this was genuine and effective.
>> but i think the problem, joy, that i'm having with this is that with all of the sensitivities and many of us have different views about middle east and about what should and shouldn't be done and balance and all, but with all at stake, iran, what's going on with syria, whether there's going to be -- whether it was chemical warfare being used -- it was used for cheap political points by the right wing against this president in very volatile times. give you an example. john baltan, the former u.n. ambassador, slammed president obama for being hostile towards israel . look at this.
>> i think it's clear that president obama is the most hostile president that america has had since the formation of israel in 1948 .
>> the most hostile president since 1948 when israel was formed yet we find today, as jim just said, he and netanyahu have met ten times. the highest civilian award given to any civilian is going to be presented to him by perez, the president of israel .
>> right. and this goes back to when president obama was running in 2008 and many on the right, from sarah palin on, characterized him as very close to a terrorist. it was all of this insid situation that he's really a muslim, lying about his muslim faith, because of the identity of his father, that he was from kenya, that he was a marxist, and that characterization is carried overall the way up until today. the right wing, for political expediency, constantly tries to portray this president. and by the way, netanyahu has not exactly walked away from i plaing to the american right wing for his own political purposes. there's been a closeness, at least in terms of perception, between him and some elements of the republican party . and so you get the sense from a lot of people that personally netanyahu and barack obama have not been close, that they have not been on the same page about a lot of things. but they are on the same page.
>> the difference, i think, and i couldn't agree with you more, is that netanyahu can say i'm protecting israel , i thought rodney was going to win and that's what i do.
>> supposed to be pro equity itting this court.
>> exactly. republican politicians who have used for political expediency, this false characterization of the president all the way to his cairo speech and that has impacted barack obama 's -- the opinion of him on the ground in israel and part of what he's doing now is to go over the heads of the leadership and talking heads and get right to the israeli people and form a direct personal bond with them.
>> you know, jim , one of the things that was amazing to me is with all of this about the president's hostility to israel and the worse want to deal with israel , you know the president that never went to israel in two terms in office, ronald reagan . the hero of the conservatives, reagan never went to israel as president. and this president has acted in ways that you've talked about with the ten meetings of netanyahu , what more adequate speech can he with deal with as a collective pursuit of peace than a speech in cairo , jim ?
>> i mean, i think it's more than reagan, reverend. i think probably a majority of american presidents since eisenhower did not trek to israel .
>> he's the hero so certainly --
>> i agree.
>> something to note.
>> i agree. and as a young senator during that short period of time that he was representing the state of illinois , obama , you know, went to israel . for sure joy is right on the mark about the bug up their butts that a lot of folks have about the cairo speech. but the context there was one we can forget. it's in which a new administration firmly believed, whether you agree with them or not, that its predecessor, george w. bush , had been fighting essentially a war on islam. that was the view on the arab street and the obama folks went out very directly in cairo in 2009 to rebut that. now, that had some collateral damage particularly among the israeli public which seems to have forgotten in large measure that the level of cooperation, be it economic, military, intelligence sharing between the two courts has never exceeded what now finds with president obama .
>> i'm going to leave it on that point. jim warren and joy reid, thank you for joining us this evening.
>> thank you.
>>> ahead, michele bachmann running from reality? sorry congressman. you can run but you can't hide from the truth. plus, in tonight's nice try but we've got you segment, what could possibly go wrong? don't worry, we've got them.
>>> and march madness is here. college basketball going wild . but republicans have found another way to go after the president. i'll be stuffing their weak stuff coming up.