White House won’t clarify if Obama meant that he sees Netanyahu the same as Putin

CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garret questioned President Obama’s statement that his relationship with the Israeli prime minister was “businesslike,” given that Israel is the United States’ most important ally in the Middle East.

When White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed that the president didn’t misspeak, Garrett noted that the only other world leader Obama had a “businesslike” relationship with was Russian President Vladmir Putin.

Earnest seemed to back away from his original assessment at that point.

“I am not going to be in a position to dissect the relationship between the leaders of the United States and Israel,” he said.

He then tried to distinguish Obama’s relationship with Putin from that of Benjamin Netanyahu, but he only seemed to make matters worse.

“When the president is having these conversations with world leaders he is doing so in the interests of the United States as it relates to our relations with these countries and that’s what our primary focus is on,” Earnest concluded.

The rocky relationship Obama has with Netanyahu first came to the public eye in November of 2011 when Obama and then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy were caught on a live microphone criticizing the Israeli prime minister.

That relationship has, if anything, gotten progressively worse since then.

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