Poor Barry!

He has to deal with that miscreant Benjamin Netanyahu every day! That is what President Obama said, apparently, to Nicolas Sarkozy when he thought his microphone was turned off. Drudge is headlining this story, so it is not exactly a scoop. But it still deserves notice:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly told US President Barack Obama that he could not “stand” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that he thinks the Israeli premier “is a liar.”

According to a Monday report in the French website “Arret sur Images,” after facing reporters for a G20 press conference on Thursday, the two presidents retired to a private room, to further discuss the matters of the day.

The conversation apparently began with President Obama criticizing Sarkozy for not having warned him that France would be voting in favor of the Palestinian membership bid in UNESCO despite Washington’s strong objection to the move.

The conversation then drifted to Netanyahu, at which time Sarkozy declared: “I cannot stand him. He is a liar.” According to the report, Obama replied: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”

The remark was naturally meant to be said in confidence, but the two leaders’ microphones were accidently left on, making the would-be private comment embarrassingly public.

The communication faux pas went unnoticed for several minutes, during which the conversation between the two heads of state – which quickly reverted to other matters – was all but open to members the press, who were still in possession of headsets provided by the Elysée for the sake of simultaneous translation during the G20 press conference.

I have seen things of that sort happen–once, for example, a speaker at a seminar forgot to remove his lapel microphone when he was finished talking and it continued broadcasting to the auditorium while he walked backstage and went to the men’s room. Embarrassing, to be sure–but heads of state should exercise more caution.

Apparently this story is just now leaking out because the reporters who were present signed an agreement to keep quiet about Obama’s and Sarkozy’s inadvertently public comments. It will be interesting to see whether the U.S. press exercises the same discretion without being bound to any such agreement.


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